Thursday, December 29, 2011

Happy New Year 2012!

The Village Poets of Sunland-Tujunga wish everyone everywhere, especially all the poets and poetry lovers, a wonderful and creative New Year 2012. This is the year of "Black Water Dragon" according to the Chinese calendar. It is also the year that the end of the world is supposed to come, if you want to believe the prophecies.

For some, it will be the end, for others, a new beginning. In any case, enjoy the poetry from our group and we hope to see you at the Village Poets readings at Bolton Hall Museum in Tujunga (on Commerce Avenue, hard to miss!) The next reading is on January 22, 2012, at 4:30 p.m., featuring our very own, whimsical and surprising Justin Kibbe. More information will follow next week.

New Years Eve

One new minute - just cause
to go off to meet another, a minute
murmuring ‘happy new moment’,
yes, but too quickly for my ear.
All those moments flying by
since Time was declared. Time,
moments that fell into the labeled
rhythm of hours and ages.
We wish “happy” to the new year,
happy party, happy cheers!
Happy kisses, happy years!
happy new, happy hope...
Year light, year bright,
I wish the wish I wish this night.
I wish I may, I wish I might
have the wish I wish tonight.

© 2001 by Marlene Hitt (12/22/01)

New Year’s Eve 2012

Midnight -

All eyes watch the clock
as fireworks fill the skies,
and bells ring, crowds sing
“Auld Lang Syne.”
Some, eager to start anew,
others are wistful or blue,
yet each finds a space,
with a kiss or embrace to
welcome in the New Year!

© Copyright 2011 by D. Skiles (December 27, 2011)

A Joyous New Year

Did the sun look any different
When you rose to turn the page
Of the callous book of time
That tends to promise a new age?
Did the tolling of one midnight
Pardon any prior sin
That the spirit could attest to
When the dawn was ushered in?
Did the glass reflect an image
Not unlike the day before
Or refine the soul’s complexion
Not considering the core?
For the coming of the solstice
Alters nothing from within,
And with only introspection
Can new countenance begin.
While a dropping crystal ball
May prove an elegant display
Can it equal any moment --
Any hour of the day,
We both welcome and avail
Ourselves to summon love’s increase
That each morn will spring anew
So New Year’s growth will never cease.

Joe DeCenzo

New Year 1997

A new year greets at the dawn of the day.
Midnight tolling has faded away.

A gate has opened, a door is closed.
Hope has cheered the nighttime woes.

Yet rain still falls on city streets,
I’ve breakfast dishes, wrinkled sheets,

and what is new? And what’s the fuss?
The party’s over. It was tedious!

No new years come, there are only nows
as moments come along to browse.

But. When a midnight kiss comes stealing by
I’ll shout the words. I will comply.

Each raindrop is new, not yet tried out.
Blessed each drop our garden has caught

Happy new year. Let’s promise anew
to try to resolve a thing or two.

© 1997 by Marlene Hitt

A Haiku for 2012

black water dragon

in a nimbus of danger

we laugh to freedom

© 2011 by Maja Trochimczyk

New Year

A new palette, blue-white,
fresh brushes with no tint

That long season,
that whole year
blanketed itself
over the backs of colors.
Those were the yesterdays,
even over days of grey.

A child’s red dress
stitched by great-grandmother
shimmered on her skin
beside the greens of Maui’s sea
and lavender hills of sunset,
mixed up to something odd.

Tubes of paint lie fresh
not yet opened

you were dressed in black
smart and slim
every day of the year,
and now I wonder
what your face would say
if I would give you
a sun-yellow sweater
edged in gold.

The new season has begun,
bright, clear and golden.
These are the days to remember.

Burnt umber is a fine beginning.
Over that a springtime tree.

© 1999 by Marlene Hitt (12-99)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

A year of Village Poets' readings has come to a close and we would like to thank all the participants and featured poets for spending their time with poetry at Bolton Hall Museum in Tujunga. It has been a busy year and we have another year full of poetry ahead of us. The year 2012 will see the selection of a new Poet-Laureate of Sunland-Tujunga and a whole series of wonderful readings. Mark your calendars for: January 22 (Justin Kibbe), February 26 (Sharon Rizk with Radomir Luza), March 25 (Village Poets Extravaganza), April 15 (Passing of the Laurels Ceremony at McGroarty Arts Center), and more. As we look back with gratitude and forward with anticipation, we would like to share some holiday poems with you.

Eastward Rising

by Dorothy Skiles

The shepherd
and his sheep find
shelter in a cave
carved in the side
of a mountain;
a hollow place
in the rock
where his
lambs rest
without fear
from predators.

It’s a long journey
ahead, beyond
the hills towards the
town of Bethlehem.
Early night,
at once clear
and bright,
blankets the
cliffs and ridges
with stars.

At its eastward
rising, one star
more brilliant,
more blazing,
the shepherd
and his flock!

They follow.

Children in the Wilderness

By Dorothy Skiles

The homeless;
nomads of the streets.
Some have wandered
forty years, some
for forty days.
L.A. can be nasty amid
December’s cheer -

Few subway stations
to hide from the cold,
and unforgiving winds
batter cardboard tents
on city blocks and
Ignorant eyes stare
in puzzlement,
or disgust,
thinking God helps
only those who
help themselves.

Festive lights garnish
merchant windows,
But where is the manna?
Where is the land of promise?
And where are the inns
to shelter the homeless
on this holy night?

In Reverie This Christmas

by Marlene Hitt

A fire, and some China cups.
The taste of tea upon the lips
flavored by lovely moments that cling
to Time's delicious sips.

Christmas dreams, so many pass,
join chain-like into long thought strings,
chains linked up to smile and song
tearstained, circled, like table rings.

A fir tree always centers here
beside the sofa and this chair.
Circles of light in green and red
mingle with the scented air.

The oldest grandma sat right there
dressed in a home-sewn skirt.
Grandfather's pipe, unlit, unsmoked
spilled ash-brown leaf upon his shirt.

And now some little slippered toes
step on those ghostly feet,
those memories of time gone by,
of life in slow retreat.

Here, dreaming at the fireside,
mixing sad with cinnamon,
all the Christmas remembering
blends and mixes and steeps till done.

I was asked to read some poems at a party and realized that I have not written my annual Christmas poem yet. It came to me in the rain, when I could barely see the road ahead and the sky was heavy with darkness. I paired it up with my Christmas poem from two years ago and posted them on my blogs.

Did you know?

Some Christmases are rainy
Tears fall from overcast sky
On lonely crowds in hospitals
And prison yards

Sometimes Christmas is icy
Frozen under the pale moon
Changing faces into lifeless
Shadows at night

Some Christmases are scarlet
And green like fir garlands and hearts
Warmed by barszcz and hot chocolate,
Evenings by the fire

Sometimes Christmas is white
Snowflakes melt on my gloves
The thin wafer of opłatek we break
Shelters us in good wishes

Some Christmases are sparkly
With the tinsel of laughter
Giggling children unwrap gifts
Magic in the morning

My Christmas is golden
Like that first star of Wigilia,
Warm kisses with kompot and kutia
Blessings under the tree

© 2011 by Maja Trochimczyk

I paired this poem with a photo I took this October at the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. I liked the open window, looking out through the multitude of shapes and colors onto a simpler, luminous world.

The picture became the cover of my Christmas card, and I paired it with the collage for the poem of "Rosa Mystica" - already posted here, but included below in the image pages. I also reprinted my last year's holiday poem, "Rules for Happy Holy Days" as a reminder about the importance of holidays. This poem was written for my last year's Christmas wishes. These Rules are timeless.

Rules for Happy Holy Days

Don’t play Christmas carols
at the airport. Amidst the roar
of jet engines, they will spread
a blanket of loneliness
over the weary, huddled masses,
trying not to cry out for home.

Don’t put Christmas light on a poplar.
With branches swathed in white
galaxies, under yellow leaves, the tree
will become foreign, like the skeleton
of an electric fish, deep in the ocean.

Clean the windows from the ashes
of last year’s fires. Glue the wings
of a torn paper angel. Brighten
your home with the fresh scent
of pine needles and rosemary.

Take a break from chopping almonds
to brush the cheek of your beloved
with the back of your hand,
just once, gently. Smile and say:
“You look so nice, dear,
you look so nice.”

© 2009 by Maja Trochimczyk


Children in the Wilderness by Dorothy Skiles first appeared in Ear to Earth by D. Skiles, 1996. Revised 12/15/11 © All rights reserved 2011. Used by permission.

Eastward Rising
by Dorothy Skiles first appeared in Riddle in the Rain, by M. Hitt and D. Skiles, 2003. © 2001 by D. Skiles, revised in 2011. Used by permission.

Photos of the Big Tujunga Wash, Christmas decorations, roses, berries, and the stained-glass window at Notre Dame, Paris, © 2011 by Maja Trochimczyk

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Fall, Christmas and the New Year

We are delighted with the quality of our Featured Poets in 2011 that includes guests from near and far, poets from our community and from across the continent. As Poet Laureate of Sunland Tujunga I have brought many fascinating and talented poets to our monthly readings. During 2011, we have welcomed to Bolton Hall:

  • poets from Sunland-Tujunga: Kathleen Travers, Alice Pero, Dorothy Skiles, and Maja Trochimczyk

  • Poets from Los Angeles County: Millicent Borges Accardi, Lois P. Jones, Georgia Jones-Davis, Rick Lupert, Cindy Rinne, Susan Rogers, Mari Werner, Kathabela and Rick Wilson

  • Poets from the Great Beyond: Ruth Nolan (Palm Springs), John Z. Guzlowski (Illino

We have found a dedicated and interesting group of open mike readers and enjoyed the refreshments prepared by Marlene Hitt. We collected donations for the Bolton Hall Museum and bought some poetic rocks.

In the early 2012 we will be getting ready for the elections of the next Poet Laureate of Sunland Tujunga. The Passing the Laurels Ceremony is scheduled for April 15, 2012. We also will enjoy the poetry of Sharon Rizk and Radomir Luza in January, and Justin Kibbe in February 2012.

With gratitude for the past enjoyable afternoons of poetry and friendship, we are looking forward to an even more exciting season in the spring of 2012. Details will be posted as they become available.


Rick Lupert at Bolton Hall Museum in Tujunga.

Poets at Rick Lupert's Reading on November 20, 2011