Thomas Hornsby Ferril's "Two Rivers": Poem on the Range

In this week's cover story, "Water World," Westword writers explored the South Platte, the river that runs through Denver and is showing new life.

Our favorite spot on the Platte, though, could well be my favorite spot in Denver: the point at Confluence Park where the past and the present come together. While kayakers breeze by and kids frolic in the shadows -- pointing to the Platte's beachhead future -- you can also feel the plaque dedicated to Colorado Poet Laureate Thomas Hornsby Ferril, inscribed with one of his poems:

Two Rivers wo rivers that were here before there was A city here still come together: one Is a mountain river flowing into the prairie; One is a prairie river flowing toward The mountains but feeling them and turning back The way some of the people who came here did. Most of the time these people hardly seemed To realize they wanted to be remembered, Because the mountains told them not to die. I wasn't here, yet I remember them, That first night long ago, those wagon people Who pushed aside enough of the cottonwoods To build our city where the blueness rested. They were with me, they told me afterward, When I stood on a splintered wooden viaduct Before it changed to steel and I to man. They told me while I stared down at the water: If you will stay we will not go away.

Follow us on Twitter!

Like us on Facebook!

KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Patricia Calhoun co-founded Westword in 1977; she’s been the editor ever since. She’s a regular on the weekly CPT12 roundtable Colorado Inside Out, played a real journalist in John Sayles’s Silver City, once interviewed President Bill Clinton while wearing flip-flops, and has been honored with numerous national awards for her columns and feature-writing.
Contact: Patricia Calhoun