Editor’s note: Gaynor McKee of Three Rivers submitted this poem, written by Nell Lovering, and watercolor, painted by her mother, Norma Hardison. Dennison Mountain and the entire Dennison ridgeline is in the southernmost part of Sequoia National Park and stands sentinel over the South Fork of the Kaweah River and the residents that make their home in this canyon.
Both the Loverings and the Hardisons were part of the South Fork community in the early part of the 20th century. The poem and the painting were created in 1936.
Enjoy this glimpse of Three Rivers history:
Mt. Dennison, Queen of the South Fork,
You’re the greatest mountain of all.
As you stand at the head of the canyon,
And look o’er its rocky wall.
The River Kaweah beneath you,
Is wooing at your feet,
And the evening breezes whisper,
Through the pine trees, cool and sweet.
Fir trees grow low on your ridges,
Tall cliffs shade a verdant ravine,
Where blue shadows hide in the hollows,
And wild flowers blossom unseen.
A grey mist creeps about you,
Seeking to cover your face,
Like a veil of smoke, it clings and curls,
Then lifts to reveal your grace.
With glorious strength, you face the blast,
Rain clouds lie low on your breast.
And your lovely shoulders gleam snow white,
Where the cloak of winter rests.
Oh, mountain, enchanting, alluring,
Your beauty will always shine.
In all of your moods you are charming,
In every color divine.
From the fleecy mantle of ermine,
Worn to grace winter days,
You change to the garb of summer,
To delicate greens and greys.
Like a vain and frivolous lady,
Forever changing her clothes,
You turn from the blue of the morning,
To amethyst, mauve and rose.
And when the hand of darkness
Draws the curtain down,
You dress yourself the loveliest,
In a purple evening gown.
—Nell Lovering, 1936