Page Eleven




Christmas Promise

You made outdoors Thy temple, Lord, to fit our simple prayer
That Christmas time may touch the hearts of all men everywhere
With Thine own brand of mercy, human kindness and the best
of good old freedom feelin's that we hold to in the West.

Don't let no hearts feel hopeless, Lord.  No matter who they are,
Help them look up for comfort to the Promise of the Star.
We ask no special favors, Lord, except to hope You'll bless
The friends and kin whom we hold dear, with Christmas happiness.

1966, S. Omar Barker, reprinted with the permission of the estate of S. Omar Barker, further reproduction without explicit permission is prohibited.

Elsa and S. Omar Barker
photo courtesy of the estate of S. Omar Barker



The Old Time Christmas

I liked the way we used to do,
   when cattle was plenty and folks was few.
The people gathered frum far and near, and
   they barbacued a big fat steer.
The kids tried stayin' awake because,
   they reckoned they might ketch Santa Claus.
Next mornin' you'd wake 'em up to see,
   what he'd been and put on the Christmas tree.

It was Christmas then fer the rich and pore,
   and every ranch was an open door.
The waddy that came on a company hoss
   was treated the same as the owner and boss.
Nobody seemed to have a care,
   you was in among friends or you wasn't there.
For every feller in them days knew
   to behave hisself as a man should do.

Some had new boots, which they'd shore admire
   when they warmed their feet in front of the fire.
And the wimmin folks had new clothes too,
   but not like the wimmin of these days do.
Sometimes a drifter came riding in,
   some feller that never was seen agin.
And each Christmas day as the years went on
   we used to wonder where they'd gone.

I like to recall the Christmas night.
   The tops of the mountains capped with white.
The stars so bright they seemed to blaze,
   and the foothills swum in a silver haze.
Them good old days is past and gone.
   The time and the world and the change goes on.
And you cain't do things like you used to do
   when cattle was plenty and folks was few.

Bruce Kiskaddon


Read more classic poetry from Bruce Kiskaddon here.



Art copyright Buckshot Dot, used with her mighty kind permission 
Illustration by Dee Strickland Johnson 
("Buckshot Dot")


The Star and a Humble Cowboy

Lord, you cared so much for the shepherds,
     you sent the glad news first to them --
Before the kings and the wise men,
    so you might just speak again

To some other humble herdsman
    out here on the range abiding --
A brilliant star, an angel choir
    proclaiming "Peace!  Glad tidings!"

The shepherds were common people
    who slept in the fields near their flocks;
Their clothes might be dirty and ragged
    and rugged and rough their talk.

So, Lord, I needn't apologize
    for my appearance or my words.
I know you're right here beside me,
    and it seems that I've just heard

The shepherds hastening, excited,
    Extolling the star they had seen,
A baby born in a manger;
    Not to some great king and queen,

But to people who do the menial tasks
    That housewives and carpenters do,
And farmers and desk clerks and waitresses --
    Just people like me and you.

But famous rich men brought presents,
    Which should prove what I know to be true --
Christ came for shepherds and wise men
    And kings and cowboys too.

1996, Dee Strickland Johnson ("Buckshot Dot")
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


Read more poetry by Dee Strickland Johnson ("Buckshot Dot") here.

Featured in "The Big Roundup," an anthology of the best of



Christmas at the Ranch

Three stockings hang by the fireplace,
While three little ranch kids dream.
Blue blaze flickers, above red coals,
Warm shadows dance on the scene.

Pantry shelves are crowded with pies,
Started from scratch, the old-fashioned way,
Family recipes handed down
From long ago homestead days.
Horses, chubby as teddy bears,
Doze in starlight outdoors,
Contented and full, from extra treats,
When Dad and the kids did chores.
Tomorrow a boy will be walkin' tall,
In chaps from Dad, with loving touch.
And where did Santa find red ropes,
Sleeping bags,  bridles and such?
When kinfolks arrive, we'll all talk at once,
There'll be laughter, with eggnog and jerky.
Grandma and Jeanie will set the table
For pot roast and dressing and turkey.
We'll bow our heads and give God thanks,
For the Savior he sent from above,
And one more Christmas, here on the land,
Heart to heart, with love.
1995, Audrey Hankins
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.



Read more poetry by Audrey Hankins here.



Christmas Serenade

It's 15 below on the prairie
   the wind chill's down near 42
and I'm watchin' a Texas blue norther blow in
   and I'm not sure what I'm gonna do.

'Cause the tanks are froze pretty near solid
   and the handle broke off my best ax
and the feed's gettin' wet from a hole in the roof
   where it's leakin' all over the sacks

And I'm feedin' more hay than I planned on
   'cause the snow covered up all the grass
the tractor's broke down and the pickup won't start
   and it's cold as a well digger's...shovel

It's the 24th day of December
   and the sagebrush is covered with ice
and I think that a hot cup of coffee
   or a good shot of rye would be nice

'Cause my feet are so cold I can't feel 'em
   and my fingers are purty near froze
and there's icicles hung off my moustache
   from the drip drippin' off of my nose

I was hopin' I'd get to quit early
   and be back at the house Christmas Eve
but these baldies are cryin' and hungry
   and there's no one to feed if I leave

And there's one little motley-faced heifer
   who somehow got in with the bull
and she's just too little to leave by herself
   'cause the calf's gonna have to be pulled

And there's one other thing I might mention
   a fact that is painfully clear
I'm so broke that I can't pay attention
   so I guess I'll spend Christmas out here

But it's pretty out here on the prairie
   where the stars light the cold winter sky
and though I can't remember when things were much worse
   I guess I'm still a right lucky guy

'Cause I've got a good woman who'll love me
   no matter what time I come home
and my young 'un is happy and healthy
   though I wish he weren't quite near so grown

And I've got that new 3-year-old filly
   who's better than I even dreamed
and my old spotted gelding as good as they come
   so things ain't all as bad as they seem

I've got no cause for being ungrateful
   and to gripe and complain isn't good
'cause there's people all over this country
   who'd trade places with me if they could

So I know that I'll have a good Christmas
   in spite of my problems somehow
I'll just watch as this Texas blue norther blows in
   and sing "O Holy Night" to the cows.

1996, J. W. Beeson
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

This poem appeared in Western Horseman in December, 1996

Read more of  J. W. Beeson's poetry here.




Out My Window

Out my window
A gatherin' of clouds
Has hid the stars away
And turned them to flakes,
Fat flakes,
Falling gently gently falling
Onto the backs
Of the two bay mares.

It's Christmas.

2005, DW Groethe, from West River Waltz
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

by DW Groethe, 2005
used with permission


Read more of DW Groethe's poetry here.



Visit our Art Spur project for a collection of poems inspired by 
"A Christmas Tale" by Mick Harrison. 



See a complete list of all the holiday poems from 2000-2005 here.

See the links here for holiday news and more.



Page Eleven






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