Page Three



Broken Things to Mend

Broken things to mend,

Are easy to be found,

At my place beyond the bend,

They're scattered all around.


Broken things to mend,

My hay rake, fence and gate,

Some things need me to attend,

While other things can wait.


Broken things to mend,

Are folks tore clean apart,

Who so easy break and bend.

With human soul and heart.


With saving soul and heart,

One was born to be our friend,

Teaching us the healer's art,

Broken things to mend.


Sun don't shine the same on all,

So take time to lift a friend,

A pard' who's ridin' for a fall,

Broken things to mend.


Most everything can wait,

For that helpin' hand you'll lend,

Go on now—'fore it's too late,

Broken things to mend.


One thing matters most they say,

That will last until the end,

Christ was born on Christmas day,

Broken things to mend.

© 2007, Paul Kern 
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.



Read more of Paul Kern's poetry here.



Prairie Silent Night

It's a silent night out on the prairie 
All the cattle are millin' around
There's a bright prairie star
Oe'r the mountains afar
In the wind there's a heavenly sound

And I know that some nightherder long years ago
Followed that star to the Savior's abode
It's a silent night out on the prairie
In the stars I see Heaven's decree
On this cold Christmas night
I am warmed in his light
Now that babe's ridin' nightherd with me

(Poem inserted into song)
It's Christmas Eve and I'd have bet my best spurs
I wouldn't be chasin' cows tonight
But at least there's a full prairie moon lights my way
And that star in the East's sure a sight
It's so cold I'm nearly froze to this saddle
But the boys fed an' so I let 'em go
To wherever a Christmas might take 'em
So I'm headin' these strays all alone 

An' feelin' a bit of self pity out here
Not home by the fire and the tree
Amidst all the gifts and the laughter
That this season's come to be
But if these cows had stayed put
I'd have missed that bright star
Can't help wondrin' if it's not the same
That signaled the season's gift given to all
Who would take on that sweet baby's name

Now the night's cold no longer surrounds me
As I remember I'm no longer alone
An' these cows, well they move a mite faster
With a glimpse of the warm lights of home
Guess I just need remindin'
Of the gifts that are mine from above
My kids, my good wife and this cowboy life
And the gift of that sweet baby's love

(End of Song)
And I know that some nightherder long years ago
Followed that star to the Savior's abode
It's a silent night out on the prairie
In the stars I see Heaven's decree
On this cold Christmas night
I am warmed in his light
Now that babe's ridin' nightherd with me

Words and Music by Curly Musgrave, recorded on Cowboy True

© 2003, Curly J Productions All Rights Reserved
These words may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


Read more poetry and lyrics by Curly Musgrave here.


Neath A Christmas Eve Sky

There's a halo  that's circlin'
'round a moon shinin' bright,
adding wonder and glory
to the heavens tonight.

And it seems to be sayin'
to this cowboy at least,
it was on such an evenin'
came the young Prince Of Peace.

And I know without doubtin'
as the bunkhouse draws nigh,
that it's Christmas I'm feelin'
neath a Christmas Eve sky.

There's a wind slightly blowin'
through the needles of pine,
and the shadows are loomin'
where the moonbeams now shine.

And the soft sound of singing
come a-driftin' to me
as the hands are now gatherin'
'round a small  lighted tree.

And it brings me a smile, Lord,
and a tear to my eye,
as I'm headin' home fin'lly
neath a Christmas Eve sky.

© 2007, Rod Nichols 
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


Read more of Rod Nichols' poetry here.




Cody's Christmas Present

We wanted you to have a horse.
it’s time you learned to ride.
Here, gently pat his glossy coat,
as you stand by his side.

His coat is black as darkest night.
his tail vanilla cream.
He’s chomping at his silver bit,
his amber eyes agleam.

Your little hand can grip his mane,
in case he starts to fling you.
Just grab ahold, and don’t let go.
It’s there for you to cling to.

We know that you aren’t ready yet,
to rock across the floor,
But you can stand there patting him,
while we stand and adore.

This toy’s for your great-grandparents,
we’re ready to admit.
to link you to our ranching past,
or one small part of it.

Someday we’ll show you pictures of
yourself and your first steed,
We hope that your first Christmas here’s
a blessed one indeed.

© 2007, Jane Morton
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


Great grandson Cody, about to celebrate his first Christmas

And, at Christmas, Cody's first horse:


Christmas Memories

Our ranch is out of family now,
our memories bitter-sweet.
This Christmas we look back on times,
that we can not repeat.

My brother, Bill, who owned it,
sold it rather than divide.
He didn’t want his progeny
to quarrel when he died.

Though Christmases out at the ranch,
had ended years ago,
It seems like only yesterday—
we never did let go.

Our family ties are strong and close,
the family will survive.
New roots will come from cuttings,
which keep memories alive.

We have two new great-grandchildren
to carry on traditions.
Evelyn Crawford, Cody Dane,
were this year’s new additions.

If I could make a Christmas wish
for them in years to come—
May they be centered deep within,
and know where they came from.

May they both have a sense of place,
for landscape shapes a soul,
And may they know the natural world,
which makes a person whole.

© 2007, Jane Morton
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

Cody is pictured above. Evelyn, pictured below, shown shortly after her birth, December 15, 2007.

Great granddaughter Evelyn, soon after she was born.


Read more of Jane Morton's poetry here.



The Perfect Gift

Not everyone's Christmas is merry,
    not everyone's heart's filled with cheer;
perhaps it's because they are missing
    a loved one not with them this year.

It might be a soldier in service,
  or death might have darkened their door;
there's reasons why some folks are lonely
   and something we should not ignore.

It must be real hard to be lonely,
   while others are happy and gay;
while we see the blue skies and sunshine,
   their skies are cloudy and gray.

And it's easy with our lives so busy
   to not take the time to be there
to help lift a burden for others
    and let them know somebody cares.

If you want to do something this Christmas
   to help those who might be alone,
take time from your parties and shopping
   and give them a call on the phone.

Better yet, pay 'em a visit
    to let 'em  know somebody cares;
for none of us know of tomorrow
    when we may have crosses to bear.   

So this year when you go out shopping
    be sure that you add to your list
a name of someone that's lonely
     and give them the best kind of gift.
You won't have to spend any money,
     for we know that the best gifts are free.
Take time for the lonely this Christmas,
     it's just how God meant it to be.

© 2002, Yvonne Hollenbeck
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


Read more of Yvonne Hollenbeck's poetry here.


Santa's Helper

Santa's checkin' through his list
The elves are workin' overtime
Rudolph's shined his nose up bright
The sleigh is lookin' fine

Mrs. Santy's been acookin'
For ole' Santy and the boys
Cause Santy needs his nourishment
While spreadin' Christmas joys

Ole' Santy checks his schedule
And studies through his map
That Mrs. Santy plotted out
While Santy took his nap

The Mrs. stayed up half the night
Sortin' presents shoulder deep
Cause Christmas is acomin' soon
And ole' Santy needs his sleep

Christmas Eve, she's up 'fore dawn
It's sourdough biscuits for the boys
While Santy eats his breakfast
She's out loadin' all the toys

She helps to harness up the teams
And hitch 'em to the sleigh
While Santy drinks his coffee
She's out loadin' feed and hay

Then she helps him in his longjohns
After pressin' out his suit
Helps him fasten his suspenders
Spit shines both his boots

In  a twinkle, Santy's on his way
Yuletide duties he'll not shirk
How come Santy gets the glory
When Mrs. Santy does the work

© 2001, Jay Snider  
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


Read more Jay Snider's poetry here.



Bringing Home Christmas

It's gettin' to be that time of year again
To be think of ol' Santy and such
To be thankful for what all we've received
I sometimes wonder how we got so dang much

Oh, I know that Thanksgiving is over for this year
and it's Christmas that's right around the bend
No, I ain't got my seasons mixed up
You must think I've lost my mind, ol' friend

See, some folks think Christmas is all about recievin'
and maybe that's true for some
But for me Christmas is a lot more about givin'
and bein' thankful for where I come from

Out here in cow country we've sure got some problems
But they ain't nuthin' we ain't faced before
But drought, low prices and politics are the usual
'Course this time, we got folks off to war

Them soldiers are fightin' for all of us
and so others might have what we've got
Democracy, it's about the greatest gift we can give
and the price has sure cost us a lot

So I cut this ol' tree and I'm draggin' it in
When I stand it up and look at it, I'll pause
I'll reflect on all them fine soldiers over there
Passin' out this gift, playin' Santy Claus

© 2006, Robert Dennis
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

This poem was written for the 2006 Christmas Art Spur project, which featured a drawing by Jo Lynne Kirkwood.


Read more poetry by Robert Dennis here.


The Brand New Year                               

Well, I was in my early twenties, I was nearly out of money,

And the Christmas holidays were comin’ near.

Seems I was runnin’ low on luck:  one broken heart, one broken truck.

Just cancel Christmas; gonna need a brand new year.


All through the week down at the Grange, the men were actin’ kinda strange,

And they could tell that I was gettin’, well, annoyed.

The foreman smirked a bit, I think, just as he slipped me somethin’ pink,

And then I opened it to learn… I’s unemployed.


Well, they say “Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em,” but I knew I’d hit rock bottom

When I couldn’t find a cigarette or chew.

And when you can’t tell up from down, they say that gettin’ out of town

Is ‘bout the only thing that’s left for you to do.


And so I guess I thought it best that I should aim the old truck west,

And as for packin’ me a bag, I didn’t bother.

I drove out to the only place where they would welcome my sad face,

And when the door swung open, there stood my grandfather.


Well, Grandpa took me in, of course, and then he put me on a horse,

And then he kept me busy helpin’ with the chores.

And after nightfall, in the kitchen, he would listen to my bitchin’,

And he’d tell me his old stories ‘bout the wars.


Now, I was not the only guest that year who’ come back home to nest,

It was the season, that cold year, for refugees;

‘Cause ‘bout the time of my arrival, fresh from Thanksgiving survival,

Fourteen turkeys came to roost in grandpa’s trees.


Seems every dawn, they’d flutter down and mill around there on the ground,

For tiny bits of grain and seed they’d slowly search.

Then in the evening’s fadin’ light, one after one they’d take to flight,

And then they’d gather once again up in that perch.


What they all did throughout the day I guess I really couldn’t say,

But no, you wouldn’t see them up there in that tree.

And then, predictably, by night, well it was always quite a sight,

‘Cause they’d be right back up there with the family.


First they would shift around, then set, and with their rounded silhouettes

They’d all be painted black against a crimson sky.

Each upper branch was slightly bent with each new Christmas ornament,

And was that angels, or just coyotes, heard on high?


If there were new snow overnight, then we would see at mornin’ light

That it had covered up the scattered grain and seed.

So over out behind the goats, Grandpa would spread around some oats,

And soon the turkeys would be glidin’ down to feed.


You see, ol’ Grandpa seemed to know that when the winter’s bringin’ snow,

He might be called upon to help with sustenance.

And with a grandson feelin’ battered, Grandpa seemed to know what mattered

Was just equal parts of work…  and common sense.


And so he worked me every day.  Of course, I knew there weren’t no pay,

Just bed and board, but that was quite enough for me.

Gramps had no time for rest or play, he even worked me Christmas Day,

So it was either hell, or maybe therapy.


You see, my batt’ry had been dead, just under-loved and under-fed,

And I’d been feelin’ mighty spent, and all alone.

I know that some might disagree, but then at least that year, for me,

The heart of Christmas was about…  just bein’ home.


No sir, that Christmas wasn’t “Merry.”  Come the first of January,

I’d be headed out to life in god-knows-where.

My train would leave, again, that station, after my recuperation.

Self esteem?  Well, it was ‘least back up to “fair.”


We worked the last day of the year, and after dinner shared a beer,

And then we fell asleep, I’d say ‘bout half past nine.

And in my dream, with smiles all pretty, in the lights of New York City,

Folks would toast the sparklin’ ball with sparklin’ wine.


At break of mornin’ (over coffee), Grandpa offered me some toffee,

And some peanuts, and a choc’late, and a mint.

And then we talked, anticipatin’ what the New Year would have waitin’,

And remembrin’ how the old year had been spent.


No silver ball with shinin’ lights.  No celebration at midnight.

No countin’ down from ten to one with revelry.

Just counted turkeys glidin’ down, as each dropped lightly to the ground

To mark the brand new year that Gramps… had given me.

© 2007, Al Mehl
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.



Read more poetry by Al Mehl here.



Christmas on the Trail

I was up in the hills, checkin' fence for Dad,
while home from school on vacation.
It started to snow, and soon covered the trail,
but I knew my exact location.

I put up a lean-to for my mare Bill,
then put up a tent for me.
I started a fire, then started a stew,
then I boiled me some sassafras tea,

It was Christmas Eve, and it snowed all night,
but by mornin' the sky was clear.
I found myself thinkin' that this has to be
my favorite time of the year.

I got the feedbag and gave Bill some oats,
then got my fire goin' again.
I thought of my folks and all of the guests,
that for days had been wanderin' in.

They'd be on the carpet in front of the fire,
and passin' their gifts around.
And here's old Bud, snowed in, in the woods,
my carpet, the frozen ground.

I spotted a pine tree, with cones that hung
like ornaments Nature had made.
The green of that tree was somethin' to see,
like beautiful Chinese jade.

A hidden choir of coyotes sang carols,
while a brown bear watched from a hill.
I boiled me some more of that sassafras tea,
then sat there and drank my fill.

Three mountain jays came to check me out,
and flitted from branch to branch.
They too were like ornaments on our tree
in the livingroom back at the ranch.

There, by now, all the folks would be sorry
I'm missin' their Christmas cheer.
But when I get home, I'll have to tell 'em
how I had Christmas here.

© 2003, Hal Swift
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

Read more of Hal Swift's poetry here.


Wrappings & Bows

It's Christmas, with gifts exchanged,
and a family tradition that seemed so proper.
I can clearly recall Dad picking up bows
and Mom...gently folding wrapping paper.

Thoughts often take me back,
to those youthful days I'd known.
Sweet recollections of family gatherings,
with all us kids at home.

Special times it was, when gifts were given,
Mom and Dad would make it so.
And special still, the saving of paper wrappings
along with those ribbons and bows.

Can you picture a little homestead,
far from town, white with fallen snow?
At sun's setting, from a frosty window,
the warmth of a fireplace glow?

Within, a family poor to the world,
along with a hired hand,
Observing Christmas together,
in the high plains cattle land.

Over the years, life's pulled me away,
etching those memories deeper.
When Dad's callused hands picked up bows
and Mom's folded wrapping paper.

Before the gifts, Ebenezer's story was told,
and always a song and a poem.
Sitting close to the fire, huddled together,
with the excitement, as kids, we'd known.

A song sung of Baby Jesus,
newly borne on a silent night.
A poem about three Wise Men,
being guided by a bright star's light.

Family, friends, and as likely a stranger,
at a meal with all the fixin's.
In the corner, a pine branch along side gifts
concealed in traditional wrappings.

Though gifts were in short supply,
anticipation was abundant.
What we had, was what we had.
We's too poor to know no different.

Few gifts were bought, most were made,
all were shared with love.
There was thankfulness for what we had,
the blessings from up above.

Those were the days, a gift wasn't appraised,
at least, not in dollars and cents.
A simpler time, ya gave to give,
and giving was from the heart.

A piece of hard candy, perhaps an apple,
a peach or maybe a pear.
From horse hair, mane or tail,
a watch-bob woven with care.

A pack of seeds for spring time,
a penny ball of twine.
Sewing needles with a shiny thimble,
a hand written note or a rhyme.

A belt fashioned from an old harness.
For Sister, a hand sewn doll.
A charcoal drawn picture by a child,
to hang upon the wall.

And a jar of honey would be found,
on the porch, not under the tree.
We believed it from a thoughtful storekeeper,
who had a stand of bees.

A new red kerchief; for sure some socks,
maybe a pair of shoes.
An apron made new from an old petticoat.
Neat things...that would always be used.

It's memories best, recalling the days
of Christmas times at home,
Snuggled close to Mother folding wrappings
while Dad collected the bows.

Some bows stayed around, reused many times,
their history us kids would tell.
There was pride in having them last,
though the paper didn't weather so well.

Wrappings well worn, bows tattered and torn,
were welcome sights each season.
Not only during Christmas but anytime
gifts were exchanged or given.

Memories fade just like the bows,
bagging their tells to be told.
Especially my favorite, fray and faded,
brightened with memories of gold.

I can see the gift for my tenth birthday,
a ribbon bound some school supplies,
With the bow Grandma made,
the Christmas before she died.

A big blue bow came from a lady in town.
It came with cookies and leaves of tea.
For Brother, when he fell and broke his leg,
trying to get her cat from out of a tree.

The faded red one held a ring from Dad,
for Mom, years after their wedding.
And since that time, many more gifts,
has that bow made prettier the wrapping.
Uncle Jack said Mom cried as she held the ring
tied in the ribbon of Rose Bud Red.
Later, when it appeared, Mom held off tears
reminiscing her surprise from Dad.

The tiny white bow showed up when Billy was born
but he left us that first winter.
Yes, it was used, we called it "Billy's Bow",
reminding us, he's now with Heavenly Father.

The Church Elders brought the green one
attached to a 4-pound fruitcake.
The only et'able that ever come in....
that never did get ate.

We each had our favorites, thou they're worn,
new were not necessarily better.
Deeper the memory, the more precious the bow,
their past seem to make them prettier.

The folks are gone, have been for years,
but with angels, I know, they're watching,
And guide the hands that now pick up bows,
and fold the fragile wrappings.

Time has since blessed us, prosperity's ours.
Saving wrappings we do not need to do.
But seeing the bows, recalling the past,
fading memories get renewed.

So it continues, year after year,
for an accounting of our family happenings,
It would seem the family's history...
is wrapped up in the wrappings.

How blessed we were and how others would be,
if as families, all could come to know,
A mother saving wrappings,
and a dad that picks up the bows.

© 2002, Mike Dunn
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


Read more of Mike Dunn's poetry here.



God Rest Ye Merry Grumps
They were cooped up in a cabin—
Old Jonesey and old Smitty.
They had cabin fever bad—
and Jonesey said, "It's a pity
that you are such a grumpy bird."
And friend Smitty soon replied.
"Well, if this weather don't let up—
one of us will have died!"
They were two old cowboys,
the log cabin long their home.
Jonesey had no teeth left
and Smitty's mind would often roam.
Yet, they'd been pals for years now
and at Christmas they'd celebrate,
never knowing from one year to the next
who'd be gone through the Pearly Gate.
One night an angel visited them—
he was going to take Smitty along,
when Jonesey awoke (he was a little drunk)
and soon burst into a song:
"God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen"—
"And that I plan to do,
but, Angel, if you take Smitty,
I'm going to use this gun to blast you!"
The angel threw up its lovely hands,
shook its head and flew away.
And as far as any of us know—
Smitty and Jonesey are still there today!

© 2007, Jean Mathisen Haugen
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


Read more of Jean Mathisen Haugen's poetry here.



A Cowboy's Christmas Prayer

The worn and wrinkled cowboy
slowly shaved and combed his hair.
He picked the finest clothes he had
and then he dressed with care.
He stomped into his new bought boots
and shrugged into his coat.
The others would have questioned him,
but his thoughts seemed quite remote.

He stepped out of the bunkhouse,
and pulled his hat down tight,
Then climbed aboard his private horse
and rode into the night.
The single footin' gelding
ate the miles without a pause
And seemed to know the rider
had a most important cause.

Twenty miles on through the night,
with the rider deep in thought,
The stars came out to guide his way
to the goal the ride had bought.
His horse stopped on a gentle rise,
tho' the rider pulled no rein,
And the cowboy raised his head to stare
'Cross the quiet and lonely plain

He crawled down off the weary horse,
loosed the cinch so it could blow,
Then walked a yard or two away
and knelt down in the snow.
He crushed his hat against his chest,
raised his face up to the sky,
And then he started talking
like a friend was standing by.

"Lord, you see I rode a piece tonight
'Cause I knowed that you'd be here.
Course you wuz at the bunkhouse too,
but on this hill ya' seems  near.
As I look acrost this prairie
and see the things you¹ve made,
Why, comparin' things us men has done
really puts 'em in the shade."

"I thank you for the love you show
in everything you do,
And I'm proud to be a top-hand
with a loyal happy crew.
I've still got all my fingers,
my legs are bowed, but tough,
Rheumatiz' ain't touched my bones,
and my mind is sharp enough."

"Your spirit gives me comfort,
and I know that when I die,
You'll let me rest forever
at that bunkhouse in the sky.
Forgive me when I wander off,
like a wild jug-headed hoss,
And I pray You'll not give up on me
'fore I learn that you're the boss."

"I've rode out here to tell you
I'm thankful for a Savior's birth,
And to send you MERRY CHRISTMAS
from your folks down here on earth."
Then he mounted up and rode away
with a casual good-bye nod.
A cowboy with his heart at peace
in the palm of the hand of God.

© Gail T. Burton
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


Read more of Gail T. Burton's poetry here.


Visit our Christmas Art Spur project, an illustration by Dee Strickland Johnson (Buckshot Dot), "A Cowboy's Christmas Eve."



See a complete list of all the holiday poems from 2000-2007 here.

See the links here for holiday news and more.




Page Three




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