“Here is a land where life is written in Water / the West is where the Water was and is” Colorado poet Thomas Hornsby Ferril
Thomas Ferril was a poet, essayist, columnist. With his wife Helen, he was a coeditor of The Rocky Mountain Herald from 1939 to 1972. He worked for the Great Western Sugar Company for 42 years as publicity and advertising manager while moonlighting as an award-winning poet. Their home at 2123 Downing Street in Denver was host to Carl Sandburg, Robert Frost, Thomas Wolfe, and many other literary greats. The two-story Queen Anne Victorian was built in 1890, and it’s currently home to Lighthouse Writers Workshop.
According to the Getty Research Institute archives, “Ferril’s poetry reflected his own Colorado background and an appreciation for western nature and history. Like his newspaper columns, which often detailed Western life past and present, Ferril’s verse and verse prose mixed observations about contemporary urban events in Denver with reflections on the region’s natural setting and history. He received numerous honorary degrees from Colorado universities and was named Colorado Centennial-Bicentennial Poet and Colorado poet laureate.”
Here’s a poem of his that I love:
Here is a land where life is written in Water
the West is where the Water was and is
Father and Son of old Mother and Daughter
Following Rivers up immensities
Of Range and Desert thirsting the Sundown ever
Crossing a hill to climb a hill still Drier
Naming tonight a City by some River
A different Name from last night’s camping Fire.
Look to the Green within the Mountain cup
Look to the Prairie parched for Water lack
Look to the Sun that pulls the Oceans up
Look to the Cloud that gives the oceans back
Look to your Heart and may your Wisdom grow
To power of Lightning and to peace of Snow.
Thomas Hornsby Ferril, you were Colorado through and through.