Ferril Still Branching Out at 89

--His Denver home is a historic landmark. To many, he himself is a national treasure. He is Thomas Hornsby Ferril, poet laureate of Colorado, 89 today, of whom fellow poet Robert Frost once wrote: A man is as tall as his height. Plus the height of his home town. I know a Denverite. Who, measured from sea to crown, Is one mile, five-foot ten. And he swings a commensurate pen. The walls of Ferril's home are lined with trophies, awards and plaques and one bookshelf is filled with volumes he either wrote or in which he is mentioned. In the last few years, Ferril's hearing has faded and his eyes have dimmed. He writes the poems in longhand, no longer trusting his fingers to hit the right typewriter keys. No matter. "All that a poet needs is a pencil." Ferril once told an interviewer: "I hold that only two things are worth living for: fishing and poetry. And in wintertime you can't fish." There's lots of time for poems. "You can be thinking about a poem for such a long time that you've built up quite a reservoir and it goes very quickly," Ferril says. "Sometimes, you work a long hard time on a poem. Sometimes, you get a poem going up like the trunk of a tree and then the different branches lure you out. I always save the branches; sometimes they become poems in themselves." Asked his own favorite lines, he thought for a moment and quoted Tennyson. Then he explained, "I never memorized my own poems."

--The unnerving, high-pitched whir of the dentist's drill may soon become a sound of the past, says the head of a dental products company that has introduced a system to dissolve cavities painlessly. The chemical solution disintegrates cavities as the dentist gently scrapes the decay, said Roderick L. Mackenzie, chairman of Princeton Dental Products Inc. of New Brunswick, N.J., at the Chicago Dental Society's annual meeting. About 100 million Americans visit a dentist each year. As for the rest, Mackenzie said, "studies have shown that the primary reason people don't visit a dentist is fear."

--John Lennon's widow, Yoko Ono, and former Beatles George Harrison and Ringo Starr have filed an $8.6-million lawsuit against Paul McCartney alleging breach of contract, a London newspaper reported. The suit, filed in New York, said McCartney earns more royalties from the Beatles' hits than the other former Beatles. The newspaper said the suit alleges "breach of position of trust, breach of contract and other wrongs." The paper quoted Bob O'Neill, legal spokesman for Capitol/EMI Records, as saying McCartney's extra money came from the record company's cut and did not affect the other Beatles' shares.

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