a painting of colorful flowers

      Apples, oil painting by Robert Stewart


      Hosted by Kath Abela Wilson

      Independence Day
      dad’s bag at the door
      leaving the union

      ~ Kath Abela

      Ο Ο Ο

      a woman inside a car decorated for 4th of july

      Dorothy Skiles, Parade 2012 (Photo – Bill Skiles)

      Dorothy Skiles

      Oh, Dad

      Oh Dad, you picked a
      mighty fine day to die
      on the 4th of July!

      You weren’t much
      for parades, but you
      sure loved those
      homemade burgers
      dripping with tangy
      sauce and stuffed with
      lots of pickles, and
      a martini to boot!

      Remember, when all
      five of us kids stood
      on Grandma’s front
      porch watching with
      wide eyes the fireworks
      off Venice Pier?

      You loved to shoot
      off fireworks right
      in the street -brilliant
      colors that shone
      in your eyes.
      We’d top it off, with vanilla,
      chocolate, strawberry
      ice cream, life was so
      much simpler then.

      Oh Dad, you picked a
      mighty fine day to die
      on the 4th of July!

      Ο Ο Ο

      people getting ready to ride in a parade

      Village Poets in Fourth of July Parade (Photo – Village Poets)

      Marlene Hitt

      Those are not missiles
      Up there in the sky.
      Those are just fireworks.
      It’s the fourth of July!
      Sleep well all you people
      War is not why
      We celebrate those sparkles
      Filling our sky.

      Ο Ο Ο

      man wearing bowtie next to a car decorated with flags and ribbons

      Joe DeCemzo at Village Poets’ Fourth of July Parade in
      Sunland – Tujunga (Photo – Village Poets)

      Joe DeCenzo

      From Sea to Shining Sea
      (Honoring The Poem “Pike’s Peak” By Katharine Lee Bates)

      Oh beautiful for hearts combined
      That see beyond the gloom
      Whose brothers crawl from every land
      And know we still have room
      America! America!
      Thy bosom shall defend
      The virtues of our ancestors
      Against those who offend

      Oh Beautiful for those who speak
      Above the boisterous crowd
      Crusading for the dignities
      That all men are endowed
      America! America!
      For better or for worse
      Whose amber waves and proud refrains
      Deserve another verse

      O beautiful for pilgrim feet,
      Whose stern, impassioned stress
      A thoroughfare for freedom beat
      Across the wilderness!
      America! America!
      God mend thine every flaw,
      Confirm thy soul in self-control,
      Thy liberty in law!

      O beautiful for heroes proved
      In liberating strife,
      Who more than self their country loved
      And mercy more than life!
      America! America!
      May God thy gold refine,
      Till all success be nobleness,
      And every gain divine!

      O beautiful for patriot dream
      That sees beyond the years
      Thine alabaster cities gleam
      Undimmed by human tears!
      America! America!
      God shed His grace on thee
      And crown thy good with brotherhood
      From sea to shining sea!

      Oh Beautiful for those few words
      Those seldom heard in song
      Reminding us of principles
      That built our nation strong
      America! America!
      Forever shall we stride
      To find our brothers arm in arm
      Where liberties reside


      marching holding a banner

      Village Poets in Sunland -Tujunga Fourth of July Parade (Photo – Village Poets)

      Fourth of July: Quotes and Credits

      In 2020, Village Poets celebrated the 10th anniversary of its monthly readings at Bolton Hall with an anthology, edited by Marlene Hitt and Maja Trochimczyk, entitled ‘We\ Are Here: Village Poets Anthology’ and containing work by 80 poets, Many of whom have been featured in our Poets Salons.

      Dorothy Skiles, the seventh Poet Laureate of Sunland Tujunga (2012-2014), has been writing poetry since her teenage years and claims that “poetry has always been in my blood.” The first poem she wrote was about her grandmother who died when Dorothy was fourteen years old. In 1970, Dorothy graduated from San Fernando Valley State College earning a B.A. in English. That same year she started her career with the County of Los Angeles, Department of Public Social Services, and retired after 34 years of public service. While married, raising twin boys, and managing a career, Dorothy published her first chapbook entitled The Sidewalk Gallery (1979). Other chapbooks followed including Ear to Earth (1996), Spine Flower Blues (1999) – a collaborative effort with fellow members of the Chuparosa Writers of Sunland-Tujunga, and Riddle in the Rain (2003) – a joint venture with Marlene Hitt, former Sunland-Tujunga Poet Laureate.

      Marlene Hitt was the first Poet Laureate of Sunland Tujunga (1999-2001). She has been a member of the Chupa Rosa Writers of Sunland-Tujunga and the Foothills since its inception in 1985. In addition to numerous poetry chapbooks, anthologies and readings, she has authored a non-fiction book Sunland-Tujunga, from Village to City. She serves at the Bolton Hall Museum in Tujunga as Museum Director and docent. In addition to her poetry activities, she has served as history writer for the Foothill Leader, Glendale News Press, North Valley Reporter, and Voice of the Village newspapers, as well as the Shadow Hills Property Owners Association newsletter. She has been honored as the Woman of Achievement by the Business and Professional Women’s Club. She lives happily ever after with her husband Lloyd and an outdoor cat named Lautrémont. Her poetry collection Clocks and Water Drops was published by Moonrise Press in 2015.

      Joe DeCenzo grew up in Los Angeles and majored in theater and English Literature. From 2004-06 he served as the third poet laureate of Sunland-Tujunga. He produced the Shouting Coyote performing arts festival and was a Department of Cultural Affairs grant recipient. His published works include The Ballad of Alley and Hawk and the Study Guide and Poetry Primer. His poems also appeared in Meditations on Divine Names anthology (2012) and on Village Poets blog. Joe currently serves on the planning committee for the Village Poets of Sunland-Tujunga and as Chair of Poet Laureate Search Committee. In addition to his volunteer work for Village Poets, Joe DeCenzo was involved in developing or creating: 2002 Shouting Coyote Poetry Festival, 2004 Shouting Coyote Performing Arts Festival, 2005 Mother’s Day Brunch at Bolton Hall, and 2006 Commerce Ave Fair/Shouting Coyote Poetry Slam. A note on his poem included here, Joe says: ” I wrote original verses to go along with the verses written by Katherine Lee Bates that are the existing poem. I wrote the first second and sixth stanza. Bates wrote the third fourth and fifth.”


      Send short poems, haiku, senryu, tanka, cherita haibun, tanka prose, short prose poems, etc., or your own unique approach, to Kath Abela (click here to email her directly) or via a Facebook message (@Kathabela).

      1. Send directly in email or message, no attachments, except photos.
      2. Suggest an original theme you would like to see, or consider:
        Openings, Taking care of one another, Encouragement, Good humor in challenging times, Consolations.
      3. Send a short bio, and comments on the theme.
      4. Send several photos or artwork by you, or a friend that would complement your writing if possible. Include one landscape (horizontal) photo or artwork.
      5. We like to vary the poets, but please send every few months if you like, and contributions can be saved for later. Kath Abela will answer within a week from your sending.
      End of article

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        • Kathabela Wilson

          Kathabela Wilson is a local poet/writer/artist and musician. Her Poets Salon has become an international respected must read in the poetry world. She's the creator and host of the Pasadena-based group, “Poets on Site.”

          Colorado Boulevard is your place for enlightening events, informative news and social living for the greater Pasadena area.
          We strive to inform, educate, and work together to make a better world for all of us, locally and globally.

        • Latest posts by Kathabela Wilson

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      1. Marlene Hitt says:

        Thanks so much, kathabela. I like this presentation. I admire all your dedication and everything you do.

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