Thursday, December 22, 2022

Happy New Year! With Leland-St. John and Galasso, 29 January 2023, Bolton Hall Museum, Tujunga

So Far, So Good, photo by Maja Trochimczyk

Happy New Year 2023! Village Poets of Sunland-Tujunga are pleased to invite poets and friends of poetry to the first of this year's Monthly Reading held in-person, on Sunday, January 29, 2023 at 4:30 pm. at the Bolton Hall Museum, located at 10110 Commerce Ave, Tujunga, Los Angeles, CA 91042-2313. We will start the year on a high note, presenting two eminent poets, Sharmagne Leland St. John and William Scott Galasso. 

According to Chinese zodiac, this will be the year of Water Rabbit, starting on January 22, 2023... Two segments of open mic will be available and refreshments will be served. Suggested donation $5 per person for the cost of refreshments and to donate to the Little Landers Society that manages the Bolton Hall Museum, a Los Angeles Historical Landmark built in 1913. 

This will be the last Monthly Readings with featured poets selected by Dr. Maja Trochimczyk, who has served as Artistic Director of Village Poets for 12 years, booking poets, creating blogs, posting notices on Facebook, and emailing poets. After she steps down, Alice Pero, current Poet Laureate of Sunland-Tujunga, will take over the role of making selections of poets for the VP Monthly Readings. 


Sharmagne Leland-St. John, 22-time Pushcart Prize nominee, is a Native American author, poet, concert performer, lyricist, artist and filmmaker. 
She is the Editor-in-Chief of the 21-year-old literary and cultural arts journal Quill and She is the founder of fogdog poetry in Arlington, WA, Quill and Parchment Poetry at The Vauclause Lounge in West Hollywood. Sharmagne tours the United States, Canada, and Europe as a performance poet.
She is widely anthologised and her poetry and short stories appear as well in many on-line literary journals, radio and television.  She has published 7 books of poetry Unsung Songs (2003),  Silver Tears and Time (2005), Contingencies (2008),  La Kalima (2010), A Raga for George Harrison (2020) IMAGES: A Collection of Ekphrastic Poetry (2021)  The Trip (2021) and co-authored a book on film production design. Designing Movies: Portrait of a Hollywood Artist( Greenwood/Praeger 2006).
Sharmagne is editor of Cradle Songs: An Anthology of Poems on Motherhood (2012,) winner of the 2013 International Book Award Honouring Excellence in Mainstream and Independent Publishing as well as one of four finalists for the NIEA. (National Independent Excellence Award). 

Tiny Warrior

by Sharmagne Leland-St. John

You never saw the spring my love
Or the red-tailed hawk circling high above
On feathered wings my love
You only knew the snow
You never saw the prairie grasses bend and blow
And undulate like the shimmering indigo sea
You never saw me
Your eyes were closed so tight
They say you put up quite a fight
Somehow your life was over before it had begun and
Gently did I touch and kiss your tiny-fingered hand
Born too soon
You never saw the silver moon
Or the light of a summer's day
Last night I dreamt a gathering of eagles
Had come
To spirit you away
Born too soon
Your tender heart
Could not beat
To the pulsing rhythm
Of life's taut drum
Nikolai 1982-1983


Bruna Vieira gathers flowers

by Sharmagne Leland-St. John

Bruna Vieira gathers flowers in her garden
she dreams of wildflowers but
chooses sunflowers instead
she's smart she knows they'll last the longest
she'll cut the stems tall, put sugar in the water
and hope they'll still be beautiful
when he comes to visit on Sunday

in her dreams she's dressed in hymns
not jeans and a blue and white striped pullover
she dances for the flowers and calls them Girasol
as they nod their sunshine heads
in the blue and white Meissen vase
where she has carefully arranged them
with their stems cut at an angle

she spins and her red hair is a furore of flames
leaping and licking the scented air behind her
she has adagio and lento
tattooed in curlicues on opposite ankles
to remind her of the tempo of the dance
and the rhythm of her life
in black ink a flutter of sparrows
dot her right wrist…
as she reaches out to caress the flowers
one of them flies away

from IMAGES: A Collection of Ekphrastic Poetry (2021) Taj Mahal Press


William Scott Galasso is the author of seventeen books of poetry including Rough Cut: Thirty Years of Senryu (2019),Legacy: Thirty Years of Haiku, (2020) and Saffron Skies (2022), his latest published work. In addition, Scott’s co-edited two anthologies, Cascade Cuneiform (1995), with The Seattle Live Poets and Eclipse Moon(2017), with Deborah P. Kolodji moderator of the SCHSG. He serves as an editor for the California Quarterly. 

He will present the newest book, Saffron Skies, published in 2022.

Sample Poems:

zen garden  
every snowflake 
finds a stone  

hunger moon
between tank treads
winter wheat  


let me be  
a hummingbird
busy in your blossom 
let me flutter you to sunburst
and fine Spring rain   

At The Mercy of Poseidon

Body surfing, I'm caught in a blue/green
fetal curl. The Pacific's rolling thunder, blasting
my ear's cavity, as I, having seconds ago flown before
the seventh wave's China white crest, plunge now,
Hard and fast as a hawk after prey towards what I hope
is sand not stone, when in an instant the world
turns upside down and I inexplicably land on my feet
astonished praising the God of good fortune

                    MRI test
                    no tumor,
                    no clot

(c) William Scott Galasso

                                  WISHES FROM VILLAGE POETS

Maja Trochimczyk with her 15-month old granddaughter, Dec. 2022

With best wishes for a joyous Hanukkah and Merry Christmas, 
Village Poets would like to share some Christmas-themed poems 
by our founder, Marlene Hitt. Enjoy!


Mary was silent as she smiled.
Shepherds murmured, watching him.
"What a fine, fine boy, a beautiful child
Jehovah-shammah, Adonai, Elohim!"
How did they know, those quiet men?
Who had told them the future of God?
They knelt, they prayed, they whispered,"Oh when?"
went on their way to plod and to plod
to live out their lives so patiently
watching, listening, tending their sheep
not guessing a thing about thorns and a tree
waiting, waiting, awake and asleep.
It is later now, so many years.
for us there are stories to make us cry
twined up with miracles, joys and tears
of the poor little baby born only to die
and to live, who will lovingly take us along
"Fear not!" We hear it again and again
and with gratitude we sing loudly our song
in the name of the Baby-Child. 
Amen and Amen.

(c) by Marlene Hitt 

   Duccio di Buoninsegna, Madonna with Angels and Saints

In Reverie This Christmas

A fire. And some china cups
the taste of tea upon the lips
flavored by lovely moments that cling
in Time's delicious sips.

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

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

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

And now some little slippered toes
step on those ghostly feet
of memories, of time passed 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.

(c) by Marlene Hitt

     Christmas Tree Ornaments, Photo by Maja Trochimczyk

Fir Tree Fairy Tale

A small dead tree alone one night
was covered with tinsel and covered with light.
That bundle of wood waited till morn
That poor dead tree was standing forlorn.
It heard the midnight bells and then
it saw the starry skies as rose-hued
frosty winter dawn
stroked sleepy little eyes.
Then the spirit of happiness entered that place
the glow of joy was on each small face.
Children danced and grandfathers smiled
mothers and grandmas hugged each little child.
The breath of joy burst through the tree
as it came alive as was meant to be
Awake, awake on Christmas morn,
the time when fir tree hearts are born. 

(c) by Marlene Hitt 


Our Lady of the Bright Mount, Czestochowa, Poland


Friday, December 9, 2022

Village Poets Say Farewell to Lloyd Hitt in November 2022

Maja Trochimczyk, Marlene Hitt and Lloyd Hitt at the 4th of July Parade in 2018

Village Poets of Sunland-Tujunga have said their farewells to Dr. Lloyd Hitt, a retired pharmacist, community activist, poet, and a recipient of our 2019 Lifetime Achievement Award shared with his wife, Marlene Hitt. 

The Celebration of Life ceremony took place on Saturday, 19 November 2022 at the New Hope Church in Sunland, with over 100 people in attendance.  The event included live music played on flute, keyboard, prayers and speeches, the presentation of the flag to the widow of this Korean War veteran, complete with Taps beautifully played on the trumpet, and a luncheon during which the attendees could share their memories of Lloyd and his impact on their lives. 

During the "official" part of the event, Joe DeCenzo read the Eulogy, prepared by Lloyd's son Robert.  It is here reproduced in its entirety.

Lloyd Hitt  (1932-2022)  

     Lloyd Hitt was born February 18, 1932 in San Jose California. His father was Bill Hitt, mother Lorraine and sister Marilyn.  He was born during The Great Depression. He grew up in a Christian home and his childhood was primarily during the wartime effort. His father, Bill, was an aircraft mechanic, pilot and chief inspector for McDonnell aircraft.  Lloyd’s family, like most families at that time, did not have a lot of money, lived a frugal life, and moved often following wherever his father’s expertise was needed.

           He often talked about the various places he lived as a boy. Oklahoma, where his father promptly had Lloyd dig a long ditch for a place to shelter in case of tornados. Or Daggett, where they had a nice house provided right on the airbase. Because it was only a two bedroom, like most homes of that era, his father converted a tool shed out behind the house to a bedroom for Lloyd. He remembered how cold it was in the winter and enjoyed the kerosene heater. They had to move again because, as a Christian woman of that era, his mom did not like how the other ladies enjoyed evening cocktails. His father found a small one room cottage in the nearby town of Newberry Springs. He often spoke of the one room schoolhouse where the teacher was about 90 and pulled from retirement to teach his class.

     Lloyd picked, dried and shucked a large sack of walnuts and sold them to the PX on base for $7 and used that money to buy his first .22 rifle. He felt like he was in heaven wandering the vast desert with his .22 and would look for turtles, rabbits and snakes. He also would ride his ex polo pony and said that horse would turn and stop so fast he could hardly hang on.

     He lived in many other areas like Pacoima, Canoga Park and finally Sunland where his father always would convert a chicken coop, garage attic or even have Lloyd live in a tent out in the yard so his younger sister, Marilyn, could have her own room. But he never complained about any of that. We believe it was part of the adventure of life to him.
      At the age of 16, he started working at Sunland Pharmacy. He would clean the floors, burn the trash and was finally promoted to soda jerk. I don’t believe he paid much mind to the owner’s daughter at that time as she was 4 years younger, more to follow on that.  Lloyd attended Verdugo Hills High School, where he learned to play the saxophone and joined the band.  He went on to Glendale College where he worked for his associates’ degree. He also attended UCLA.
      Growing up with a father in the aircraft industry, he signed up to be a pilot in the air force. While waiting for that call, he was drafted into the Army. He said when he was in boot camp the call for the Air Force came in, unfortunately his commanding Officer informed him he was now Army property. He said he never regretted it.

      The Korean war had been going on for some time when he was shipped to an outpost named pork chop hill.  While en route, he would tell Bobby, “The trucks were coming down with the dead and wounded as fast as the trucks were going up with fresh troops.”  He would say, “not a guy in those trucks could spit, their mouths were so dry from fear and not a word was spoken.”

     He befriended a Corporal named White. They shared a machine gun nest together. The tripod on the .50 cal machine gun was broken and White told Lloyd that he saw one laying on the side of the road a few miles back. Lloyd found the tripod but was spotted by the enemy. Mortars came in and somehow, other than some shrapnel in his arm, he was spared. He delivered the tripod and was sent to medical for treatment. That night his nest took a direct hit and his friend White was killed.  

      He had shared his stories with the family over the years without much emotion, but it wasn’t until his dementia was advanced and he was blindly expressing things that they discovered for all those years, he had mastered the suppression of his PTSD.  You never heard one regret about the Army, it taught him so much about life and made him a strong man. He was deeply appreciative of the Army GI bill affording him the chance to attend USC and become a pharmacist. 

     Something else happened when he was overseas, the boss’s daughter I mentioned earlier, her name was Marlene.  She had been writing him letters. Now both mature with some life experience, a romance evolved. They were married in 1956 at St Mark's Church in Glendale.  Married 66 years, she was his only love as he repeated again and again-that he loved her dearly.

     Lloyd was always a leader. When studying at USC, he became president of his fraternity and class president of the USC School of Pharmacy where he graduated with honors. Many hours were spent at the dinette table of the newlyweds studying. 

     Lloyd was a great father to Jeanette and Bobby, their words.  He took them to ride the family horses through the Wash and through the hills, and he and Bobby took the horses backpacking in the wilderness of the Sierra.  He would take the family camping and fishing and was always supportive... Both Bobby and Jeanette worked with him at Hober’s Pharmacy, the store opened by Marlene’s parents. It was a nice way to be together after school or during vacations. Always busy at the Pharmacy, they looked forward to every other weekend at home with him. It would usually be a workday around the house and church on Sunday.  For many years, during this time, Lloyd devoted himself to leadership and fellowship at Sunland Baptist Church of course, now called New Hope Community Church.

     Upon retirement, like most new retirees, he searched for a new direction. He did things like 
making Lincoln logs for the grandkids. He made a miniature adobe mission, walking sticks, and he loved to work in the garden. Marlene donated her time as a docent and historian at Bolton Hall Museum and Lloyd joined her. Once again, him being the leader, he soon became the President of the Little Landers Historical Society that runs Bolton Hall.  There he fought for upgrades to the building such as a new flagpole that hadn’t been replaced since 1914; a new roof and re-landscape the surrounding park prompted him to correspond with city dignitaries sometime to their chagrin. There he also started a movement to preserve local landmarks such as the castle style homes and original structures in our area.  He also spent years on a movement to preserve a place at the local Verdugo Hills golf course as it was previously a WWII internment site.  Tuna Camp Detention Station now has historical status.

With so much energy and so much willingness to give, he became interested in poetry, writing, some travel, paleontology, home improvement, community activities, and family life. Lloyd Hitt spent the last 18 weeks of his life in Montrose Health Care facility, suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease. A devastating end to 90 years of love, devotion, fortitude and service. Lloyd’s was a life well lived.

~ Eulogy by Robert Hitt, presented by Joe DeCenzo

Lloyd and Marlene as Grand Marshalls of the Parade
 All attendees of the Celebration of Life received a booklet with a brief biography, photograph, program and a lovely poem by Marlene Hitt. Here's her poem:

To You, W.L.H

On the shore once we stood
watching waves take the sand
I close to you
holding my hand

The back of our future
a long time ago
we see clearly now
passed quickly, passed slow

Herb and poultice
salve and balm
gentled soft on wounds
healed, now are gone

On the far shore of the future
still together we stand
I - close to you, you -
holding my hand

Marlene, Dublin, July 10, 2000

There were many speeches at the community-hall part of the Celebration of Life, many memories, many tears.  As representative of Village Poets of Sunland-Tujunga, a group somewhat not well remembered by other attendees, Maja Trochimczyk recalled Lloyd's help during Monthly Poetry Readings at Bolton Hall. Even though he had served as the President of the Little Landers Historical Society, Lloyd was not afraid of the broom: he swept crumbs left by poets after the refreshments were served, and made sure that everything was in good order when the poets left Bolton Hall in the evening. That's "Servant Leadership" at its best! And a great example to future generations of community activists. 

Maja also read two poems by Lloyd from a book of poetry The Earth Time that Moonrise Press published in 2018 and Marlene Hitt edited.  These insightful poems show Lloyd's gifts of observation and reflection about life. 

The Earth Time is a unique poetry collection documenting a lifetime of service of Dr. Lloyd Hitt, a Californian, pharmacist, USC graduate, Korean War veteran, writer, and community activist. The book of 46 poems is divided into five sections, focusing on: the contemplation of natural beauty and power (The Earth Time), dramatic experiences of WWII (The War Time), memories of the past that passed away too quickly (The Memory Time), milestones of a well-lived life (The Life Time), and the time of love, primarily for his wife, poet and historian Marlene Hitt (The Love Time). Dr. Hitt received many awards and honors for his tireless and dedicated community service.

ISBN 9781945938320, paperback, $16.00
ISBN 978-1-945938-33-7, ebook, in ePub system, $10.00 

Alone in Paris

Standing at the top
a million miles away
 I’m alone

Below, Paris
glows with a million lights
I sense you near

The Eiffel is crowded,
exotic voices everywhere
Your voice is silent

Lovers walk hand in hand,
far below, and
I feel your touch

Lamps, light
the River Seine
Your breath on my cheek

Headlights circling ever faster 
the Arc de Triomphe
As a racing heartbeat

Steel girders feel cold to my touch
 but I know
I’m not alone
(c) Lloyd Hitt, from "The Earth Time" by Moonrise Press, 2018

The Eiffel Tower, photo by Maja Trochimczyk 

The Color of Life

You and I rode
a grain of sand falling
through the eye of the glass

You and I sat
by a yellow crackling fire
sunrise lit the valley below

You and I felt
the golden warmth of a smile
from across the room

You and I saw
the love of our newborn…
a blue velvet lullaby

You and I wandered
through fields of orange poppies
on a desert floor, wondering why

You and I looked 
at the darkness of night
the blackness cradled the stars

You and I listened 
to a rainbow of verse,
when first read
You and I succumbed 
to the eye of the glass, grain by grain
leaving yesterday’s sand behind

All this, you and I were 
 full of life because
you were there. 

(C) by Lloyd Hitt, from "The Earth Time" (Moonrise Press, 2018).

Among other speakers, Pamela Shea of Village Poets read her poem written for this occasion:

Well Done, Lloyd, Well Done!

 by Pamela Shea

In remembering Lloyd, I think of a strong oak tree,

Protecting, serving, providing shelter wherever planted.

Family, friends, country, and community are all blessed.

His legacy lives in all of us through good deeds and planting seeds.

Look around, Lloyd lives on among us; hear his song, he is never gone!

(c) 2022 by Pamela Shea

In 2019, Village Poets presented Marlene and Lloyd with a Lifetime Achievement Award for promoting poetry in the foothills. He got plenty of other honors, medals and distinctions, but we want to remember that he shared the world of poetry with us.

Lifetime Achievement Award for Marlene and Lloyd Hitt from Village Poets

Celebration of Life Programs and flag with medals.

A selection of Lloyd's honors and recognition