Manitou Springs (Day 14 of NaPoWriMo, National Poetry Writing Month)

That's me in front of the old Ute chief in old Manitou Springs, Colorado (Nov. 1969)

That’s me in front of the old Ute chief in Manitou Springs, Colorado (Nov. 1969)

MANITOU CHIEF

His ghost stalks the town of Manitou Springs

where the Ute and Cheyenne came.

Little remains where much is new,

but the history and the name.

The trading post where goods were sold;

its pottery, blankets and crafts were

produced and made by the young and old.

They came for the water from the springs

filled with rich minerals found in the earth,

and all the benefits from which it brings.

Their tribal villages are all gone,

the ghostly past of a place grown old,

but the soul of the Manitou lives on.

The village grew and with it came change;

white men settled, houses were built,

roads were put in, and cars came to town.

Now the red stone chief bowing with clay pot,

pouring his water is no longer around,

and the springs have too gone dry.

______________________

Notes: Manitou Springs, Colorado is a historic town that sits just below Pikes Peak and merges with the city of Colorado Springs where I was born and raised. It was a favorite place back then in the fifties and sixties when tourists and local residents would visit, shop, and tour the Indian cliff dwellings where Indian tribes settled and lived. The Cave of the Winds, Garden of the Gods, Seven Falls and Pikes Peak are just a few of the popular tourists sites to see. The mineral water was also popular for its health benefits and also was very good used in beverages like Cool-aid and lemonade drinks which we made when I was younger and went to Manitou for the water. When I moved away from Colorado Springs and relocated Manitou Springs was still a favorite place to visit and see all the new changes, shops and tourist attractions, but the springs dried up and I missed the water whenever we went back to visit. Today, the town is still a main attraction, and its history and surroundings have been preserved.

Joyce E. Johnson (2014)

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