Featured at the Bar-D Ranch



"Seein' Santa" 
by Charles M. Russell, 1910
 
C. M. Russell Museum
Great Falls, Montana
reproduced with permission

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See the Art Spur introductory page here

It's been said that a picture is worth a thousand words...we know many that are worthy of a poem.

In Art Spur, we invite poets to let selections of Western art and photography inspire their poetry.

Our third  piece offered to "spur" the imagination is "Seein' Santa," by Charles M. Russell, courtesy of the C. M. Russell Museum in Great Falls, Montana. This Art Spur piece is offered in conjunction with our Christmas 2004 celebration.

The C. M. Russell Museum's mission is "... to collect, preserve, research, and interpret the art and life of Charles M. Russell; the art and life of his contemporaries; and the art of preceding and ensuring generations that depict and focus on the culture, life, and country of Russell's West."  Visit the C. M. Russell Museum web site where you can also read more about the life of Charles M. Russell.

 

Below are poems inspired by "Seein' Santa," added during our annual celebration of Christmas at the BAR-D Ranch, in 2004.



"Seein' Santa" by Charles M. Russell, 1910, C. M. Russell Museum, Great Falls, Montana
reproduced with permission


 

    




"Seein' Santa" by Charles M. Russell, 1910, C. M. Russell Museum, Great Falls, Montana
reproduced with permission

 

Poems

Seein' Santa by Rod Nichols
First One to Daylight by Hal Swift
Visitation by Jo Lynne Kirkwood
The Guthrie Christmas Trail by Michael Henley
Seein' Santa by Jane Morton
Santa and Slim by Dave P. Fisher 
Uncle Charlie's Christmas Eve by Jan Erickson
Seein' Is Believin' by Janice Gilbertson
Never Too Late by Rusty Salmon
Santa's Brand by Clark Crouch
A Stormy Christmas Eve by Joyce Johnson
Temperance by Bruce Satta
Christmas Night Ride by Harold Roy Miller
Christmas in a Bottle by Glen Enloe

 


 

 

Seein' Santa

Ol' Charlie sat with cup in hand,
"Hot coffee, that's for me.
I'll never  touch another drop
of spirits, though I freeze."

The bunkhouse crew now gathered 'round;
ol' Chuck was talkin' strange.
"What happened, son," the foreman asked,
to bring about this change?"

The cowboy took another sip,
"Just let me ketch my breath.
You won't believe what happened, boys,
but scared me half to death."

"I'd been up in the north country,
and stopped by Miller's shack.
We jawed awhile and afterwards,
I started headin' back."

"The wind was raw and bitter cold.
It had me in it's grip.
I thought to warm my innards up,
and took a little nip."

"When all at once against the sky
and down a cloudy draw,
a sight like nuthin' on this Earth,
this frozen cowboy saw."

"It were a sleigh, I swear it, boys,
and drawn by antlered deer,
a driver, too, in cap and fur,
and laughin' loud and clear."

"I'd never seen its likes before
nor nuthin half as strange;
That driver seemed to tip his cap
and called to me by name."

"When that there rig flew over me
with driver, deer and sleigh,
I took one look at what I'd drunk,
and threw the rest away."

"Then as they mounted to the sky,
I heard him clearly say,
'Peace on the Earth, goodwill to men
on this most wondrous day."

" I know you won't believe me, boys,
but, how do you explain,
this lariat he left for me
that bears my given name?"

For there upon his saddle horn
a rope with leather bands
that bound the length at either end
to hold the woven strands.

And on one band, a message read
"To Charlie Russell, Hand.
A Merry Christmas to you, pard,
until we meet, again."

© 2004, Rod Nichols
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 

 

First One to Daylight

Old Harley Oxheart never drinks much.
Oh, now and then, he'll get hazy.
But he'll never get drunk, or get outta hand,
like some old boys who go crazy.

He'll have him a bottle of sasparilla,
when holiday time comes around.
The feller's a dang good cowpoke, y'know?.
He's got both feet on the ground.

Except when he's ridin' his horse, Desert Wind,
that Harley says cannot be beat.
And I reckon he proved it on one Christmas Eve,
with a fellow he happened to meet.

Harley has been in at Shorty's all evenin',
then says his goodbyes to his friends.
About half-way home he hears sleighbells ringin',
and that's when his story begins.

He says east of Nixon, he's dozin' a bit,
kind of dawdlin' along on the way,
when all of a sudden someone's alongside,
and it's Santa, his reindeer, and sleigh.

Harley thinks maybe he's havin' a dream,
like Sunday, right after his dinner.
But it's Santa all right, who hollers, "Let's race!
The first one to daylight's the winner!"

Harley just never thinks twice about it,
he tells Desert Wind to get goin'.
It don't matter to him how cold that it's got,
or how hard that it's started to snowin'.

Santa cracks his whip and his reindeer take off.
Harley says, "Them critturs can fly!"
But that don't stop him.  He tells Desert Wind,
"Go on now--head for the sky!"

Now Santa's not raced with a Paiute cowpoke,
and don't know the things they can do.
And ol' Harley leaves him like he's standin' still,
and to Santa that's something that's new.

"Watay!" yells Harley.  (That's Paiute for "Cool!")
Then Santa yells, "Okay, let's go!"
Them reindeer of his fairly streak through the clouds,
but Harley's directly below.

Santa heads northward towards Mount Saint Helens,
and her fire looks dim through the fog.
But Harley and Desert Wind's already there,
and Santa is plainly agog.

Santa yells, "You kids are pretty dang good!
Let's see just how fast you two are!"
He sprinkles some twinkle dust over his sleigh,
which shoots 'cross the sky like a star.

Harley yells, "Ah-ha!" (That's Paiute for "Yes!")
Then whispers in Desert Wind's ear,
the word that makes a horse go so fast,
that no one can ever get near.

Harley and Desert Wind pass the North Pole,
then south toward Nevada's cold skies.
Santa is still headed north with his crew,
and he gawps open-mouthed in surprise.

"Come on!" Harley hollers, "The sun's in the east!
Your critturs are slowin' their pace!
You got to do somethin', and do it real soon,
or you're gonna be losin' this race!"

Well, Santa agrees, but he's shakin' his head,
because this ain't happened to him.
Racin' this Paiute from northern Nevada
was just an old man's silly whim.

What'll he give this cowpoke for winnin'?
And it looks like this could be the case.
So, he figures he'll ask him to see what he says,
as soon as they're back to his place.

It ain't all that long till they're down on the ground,
and slidin' along through the snow.
Till Harley lets Santa catch up and then says,
"Okay, now, Desert Wind, Whoa!"

"A heckuva race," old Santa Claus says.
That's one goin' horse you got there."
"Thangkew," says Harley.  "We've never been beat.
And we've won every race fair and square."

"I don't think you told me," Santa says with a grin,
"what was it that you'd want if you won."
"I'll tell you," said Harley, "one cold sasparilla,
at Shorty's whenever you're done."

So that's how it happens that Santa's at Shorty's,
as Harley explains to his friends,
"I heard sleighbells last night, about half-way home,
and that's where my story begins."

Well, the folks there at Shorty's enjoy the whole tale.
Santa buys sasparilla for all.
And he says, "You know, I could stay all day,
that is, if my wife don't call.

His wife don't call, but an elf comes in,
to see if the old boy's all right.
"The Missus," he says, "got a look at your reindeer,
and figures you raced 'em all night."

"You can tell 'er," says Santa, "I'm givin' up racin',
I feel like I'm fifty pounds thinner.
I learned m'lesson when I raced ol' Harley,
with the first one to daylight the winner."

© 2004, Hal Swift
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

I know it's saras-parilla but, around
here, everybody calls it sas-parilla.

Nixon is a small town near the
Pyramid Paiute Reservation,
north of Sparks, Nevada



Visitation
(Seein’ Santa. A Sonnet.)

The land was white that Christmas eve, a norther’d blown in blue
From across the Canadian border. The mercury had dropped
for three long days, each colder still. And the unholy residue
of nature's wrath lay in silent mounds. Lifeless, frozen stock.
The sun burned dim, eclipsed by cold, an impotent wavering flare
As it slipped behind the frigid hills that marked my western range.
My mind grew numb, my eyes glazed red from peering through the glare
And shadows danced like death-crazed waifs in rhythms that were strange.
It never really happened. T'was simply mist and vaporous air,
That apparition overhead, those hoof beats on the cloud.
His chuckling cry, “It’s Christmas, son! Be happy! Don’t despair!”
Was but my inner quest for hope. My heart’s need, spoke aloud.

I turned my mount, and headed home, to where my children, faces bright,
Awaited Santa Claus, and me, on this bitter, silent night.

© 2004, Jo Lynne Kirkwood 
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 

 

 

The Guthrie Christmas Trail

It was my first season on the 'Sixes" and still
 this wintertime cowboyin' sure wasn't my bill.
I hated the North wind and hated the cold
 and whinin' about it don't mean I'm too old.
Just 'seasoned' a little a smarter than some
 but I'm doin' my part when the tallyin's done.

My feet and fingers were purt near froze
 so I slips off to have me a drink at the "Rose"/
The Boss won't have any idee that I'm gone
 and ol' Red will have me back here by dawn.
So there's no harm in it as far as I see
 just some dances and drinks then here's where I'll be.

So I'm leavin' the Rose jest a wee little tight
 and Bo gives me a jug just to help me a mite.
I start cross the high flat in a calf freezin' blow
 I hardly can see for the straight sideways snow,
when the beatenest thing that I ever did see
 jest off to my left and a comin' at me.

Don't make no mistake Son, It weren't Bo's good liquor,
 at figurin out things they ain't a hand quicker,
But there in the trail right square in my way
 was an eight team of reindeer a haulin' a sleigh.
And drivin' the rig, I swear that it's so
 was a skinner a dressed up in red head to toe.

It "wall eyed ol' Red and he turned wrong side out
 a colt can't be expected to figure such out.
And It took me by surprise as I looked to the left
 then reached for the Rye that hadn't much heft
thinkin' one little pull might jest settle my nerve
 as he leaned back on the reins as I started to swerve.

Pard if you don't believe me then I'm damned if I care
 but them caribou pulled that rig up in the air.
And quick as I'd seen em' the slipped out o' sight
 swallered up in the storm and the dark of the night.
And me and ol' Red we jest stood in the trail
 my eyes all bugged out and him switchin; his tail.

Now every ol' waddie blows his share of wind
 and I've spun a tall one myself now and then,
But what I seen on the trail back from Guthrie was straight
 and I'd tell it to Peter if'n I get to the Gate.
Now you hand me them pills up there high on that shelf
 and if you don't mind Cisco, keep this one to yer self.

© 2004, Michael Henley 
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 

 

Seein' Santa

I think that hypotherma thing
   must be a settin' in.
I don't know where I'm goin'
   and I can't tell where I've been.

I've been a ridin' way too long,
   and frost has bit my nose.
I don't have any feelin' left
   in fingers or in toes.

I see an apparition here,
   which causes me to pause.
It's probably just some rancher, though,
   dressed up like Santy Claus.

But what if he's the real thing
   out try'n to give his gifts.
Those reindeer look like they could pull
   That sleigh through heavy drifts.

I have a bottle with me now,
   But I ain't had a sip.
This shore is turnin' out to be
   No ordinary trip.

I think I'm seein' antlers on
   the deer that pull the sleigh,
Instead they might be branches on
   the trees that bend and sway.

The wind is blow'n harder now,
   and light is growin' dim.
I see that fella's takin' off.
   I aim to follow him.

He didn't come to my house once
   when I was just a pup.
I think he's goin' to help me now
   an try'n make it up.

I'll trail him far's the line shack where
   this cowboy will get warm,
But I won't tell a single soul
   who led me through the storm.

                ---

See how that Charlie Russell guy
   paints winter blue and gray.
He makes a fella feel the cold
   the way I did that day.

© 2004, Jane Morton 
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 

 

Santa and Slim

Let me tell you boys a story on this here Christmas Eve,
It may sound a little strange, but you just gotta believe.
T'was back when I was a younger man ridin' the Ruby hills,
Bundled in my sheepskin coat to ward away the chills.
Did I tell you boys it was Christmas Eve when all of this took place?
Ya, I can hardly believe it myself, but just trust my honest face.
 
That day was bitter cold, and the winter wind was whippin' so,
When day's end came we went to town, you know how that can go.
In the warmth and glow of Charlie's bar we had a drink or two,
We toasted Christmas and each other; well maybe we had a few.
The moon was high when I forked my bronc and pointed him to home,
I shivered way down in my coat, was this Nevada or was it Nome?
 
I made my way through the night all lit up by the moon,
And helped by my frostbite tonic I was soon whistlin' a merry tune.
Then suddenly out of nowhere I heard sleigh bells on the breeze,
My old bronc started bunchin' up so I squeezed him with my knees.
I stopped him and I listened as those bells grew mighty near,
And then just like that they were on me, a herd of big ol' deer!
 
They just about run me down and gave me an awful scare,
But boys them deer weren't runnin', they was a-flyin' in the air!
Behind them came a little sleigh and a feller in a bright red suit,
He shouted "Howdy" as he went by and gave me a little salute.
Then just like that they was gone and I felt the quiet around me grow,
As I took that bottle from my pocket and dropped it in the snow.
 
I sat there in the cold, that whole thing makin' me sorta numb,
But, that's not the last of it, oh no, the best is yet to come.
As I went along I came on that team, the lead deer stuck up in a pine,
They was just a-floatin' up there in one long and perfect line.
That deer was lookin' mighty sad and woefully forlorn,
So I goes and shakes me out a loop and slapped it on his horn.
 
I dallied 'er off and backed my bronc, and pulled his head on out,
That little red feller let out a whoop and gave a happy shout.
He reached his hand on down to me and said, "I sure thank you Slim,"
That's when I saw it was Santa Claus so I shook hands with him.
Then he waved, touched his nose, and gave his whip a crack,
As they flew away I could of sworn a stirrup was hangin' from his pack.
 
Well boys there's the story, you can take it for what it's worth,
Or shake your heads and swear there's just no way upon this earth.
It's the whiskey that done it, I know that's how you feel,
You say that I imagined it all for no such story could be real.
Well, you see that Hamley on my bronc, that one that belongs to me?
When I got home I found it there under my Christmas tree.

© 2004, Dave P. Fisher 
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 

Uncle Charlie's Christmas Eve

Before every Christmas, we'd revel in glory,
As great-uncle Charlie, would tell us the story
Of a cold Christmas Eve, back in nineteen n'ten,
Out near Johansen's, old Karin and Sven.

He was ridin' from town after gettin' some things,
To give to my folks, for the joy such fun brings.
A generous man, quite sober and straight,
Bein' happy was why Uncle Charlie was great.

The sun had not set, but was floatin' real low,
Above the horizon of fog and light snow.
The air was dead still, with nary a sound
'Cept the breath of his horse, as its hooves hit the ground.

He heard in the silence, but sure didn't know
Whether sleigh bells were ringing, or a voice said; "Ho ho."
When stopping his horse in its tracks on the trail,
The sound seemed to come from way down in the vale.

Then all became quiet as a corpse in a tomb.
After listening awhile, nudged his horse to resume.
Most likely the Frogget boys out on a tear.
But weren't they in Texas, on a roundup down there?

Next he heard sleigh bells from the ridge up ahead,
As an old soundin' voice spoke to someone and said
"Girls and boys it's hopeless, I'm afraid we're lost!
In this thick winter fog, my directions got crossed."

"We just need to find a good soul who well knows,
Where Johansen's place is, to leave'm these clothes."
Upon hearin' this Uncle Charlie spoke out,
Through the fog he acknowledged, with a half-hearted shout;

"Over here friend, I know Karin n' Sven.
You're not too far off, I'll just whistle, and then
Follow the sound over here, to the trail,
I'll give you directions good enough you won't fail."

Charlie puckered his lips and began Silent Night.
A voice through the mist cried, "Circle to the right!"
Charlie had doubts of what to expect,
There was no sound of hooves, which he could detect.

Sleigh bells were ringing as if all around,
And back to his left, 'bout a foot off the ground
Came a team of small reindeer all hitched to a sleigh,
With an old driver guidin'm down Charlie's way.

Charlie's whistle went dry and his eyes got real big,
When seein' how this old man handled that rig.
The team bore in close, at a gallopin' speed,
Then stopped in a wink, when those reindeer took heed.

The old gentleman smiled, then said; "Th' name's Kringle."
Charlie froze stiff, with his skin in a tingle
Knowin' full well from the stories he knew,
That a legend of fancy, must somehow be true.

Kringle told Charlie, "You've saved us dear friend.
We got turned around when we had to descend.
This cloudbank you're in, as near as I've seen,
Goes from Sigurd to Preston, and all towns between."

Great-uncle Charlie soon started to grin,
Then thought of the hurry ol' Kringle was in.
"Take this trail back, to a lone poplar tree,
Turn a hard left to Johansen's, you'll see."

For kindness received, Kringle reached in the back
Of his sleigh to retrieve, a brown paper sack
Full of oranges and candy, and a bottle of cheer,
That Charlie kept always, as his own souvenir.

Old Kringle shouted, "Take it up boys and girls!"
They disappeared quick in the fog and snow swirls.
The sound of the bells, helped Charlie to trace
Whether Kringle had made it to Johansen's place.

Their last visit finished, away they did fly.
Looking up, Charlie glimpsed through the haze in the sky
A sleigh and eight reindeer, off to the west,
As he held hat in hand, up close to his chest.

I realize it's hard to have faith in this yarn.
Let me be clear, I could not give a darn.
My dear sainted uncle convinced me it's true.
I'm here to say now that I'll prove it to you.

Before passing on, he left in his will,
The sealed up old bottle, which I possess still.
In print, on the label, the words clearly state:
"North Pole Distillers - 1898"

© 2004, Jan F Erickson
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 

Seein' Is Believin'

Through the pale and watery light from a cold, cold moon,
In a sad, blue liquored haze I rode my trail immune,

Where gnarled misty fingers gripped the deep cold canyon trails
And high up on white ridges where December wind prevails.

A bottle in my pocket and an empty-bellied horse steered me home on Christmas Eve.
Another lone and lonesome ride for a bitter hardluck soul who never did believe.

At first I heard a skyward sound that made me give my head a shake...
The mist blew in a dizzy swirl and the earth began to shake.

I cursed my own sad, sinful ways, expectin' my demise,
My horse began to quiver, snort, and roll his white-walled eyes.

A thousand bells in harmony sent music down the mountain side.
The oddest rig I ever saw split the dark at a fast and graceful glide.

I saw a team of most enormous deer harnessed to a flying sleigh
And upon the seat a red-robed man with a bushy beard of silvered gray.

He rumbled hearty laughter, cracked his whip and circled high...
I sat my tremblin' horse and watched them vanish in the sky.

It happened oh so quick and scared me sober as a Saint,
But I'll tell ya straight and true, a non-believer now, I ain't.

© 2004, Janice Gilbertson
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

Never Too Late

The snow was loud with cold winter's crunch
As my horse struck out through the crust
I sure didn't want to stay out too long
But the boss said the cattle had fussed.   

He said that I'd best go check on the bunch
Out under the old mesa rim
Where the wind stacks the drifts and the feed gets scarce
Guess it was better me than him.

'Cause he was in snug with the wife and the kids
Readin' stories 'round the holiday tree
But I'm just an old hand, good for pickin' up slack,
Christmas don't mean nothin' to me.  

Then I heard the sound of the bells on some rig
They seemed to be comin' my way
I looked and I wondered who'd be out tonight
Goin' cross country with some old sleigh.  

I've been out here alone in the heat and the cold,
I'm used to the silence of the prairie
But now things seemed odd, a tingle in the air
And this noise made me feel somewhat wary.

Then ol' Buckshot started, pulled hard at the reins
As the sleigh finally came into view
And through the misty light of the moon on the snow
I glimpsed a sight seen by only a few.

For it wasn't no trap bein' pulled by a horse
That came slippin' along through the night
But ol' Santa himself with those reindeer of his
I just gaped at the startling sight!

Their antlers rose gracefully over their heads
His whip cracked, I heard the cold harness creak
As he snapped reins and laughed, I rubbed both my eyes
Then opened them up for a peek. 

He wasted no time on this hard-bitten hand
Just tossed me a wink and a grin
But when I got back to bunkhouse, it seems
He'd found it and let himself in.   

There's a tree now with garlands, lights sparkling so bright,
I felt my heart lighten and sing
N' I sat there and cracked a big ol'grin
Though Santa hadn't brought me a thing 

At least, not nothin' wrapped up in a box
But that didn't matter to this old boy
For he'd found in my soul the child of my youth
And I laughed with my new Christmas joy.

© 2004, Rusty Salmon
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


 

Santa's Brand

"Is there a Santa Claus?"
...we discussed that question
but hard-headed cowboys
held a child's obsession.

"I'll be damned if there is!"
were my last words that night
and I left the gathering,
convinced that I was right.

I was emboldened then
by a bit of red-eye
and I'll admit today
mine was a futile cry.

My horse struggled along
through drifting winter snow
that whited out the land
and made the going slow.

It was a long, cold ride
just trying to get back
to the warmth of the fire
in my tiny line shack.

I near drank my whiskey,
to fight off winter's chill,
as I rode toward my home
not expecting a spill.

It was at Smith's crossing
my horse stumbled and fell
and I was unconscious...
knocked out for quite a spell.

Then, as I was rousing,
I saw a wondrous sight...
Santa and his reindeer
come racing through the night.

I shook my head and blinked
and, as I roused again,
Santa's vision was gone...
nothing where he had been.

But right there in the snow
were tracks like a sleigh
to mark Santa's journey
as he went on his way.

Then it seemed that I heard
words wafted on the wind
"Yes, there is a Santa
and you should be chagrined."

I shook my head and scoffed
"I must be going mad...
there ain't no Santa Claus...
a dream is what I've had."

It was then I noticed
my bottle close at hand,
freshly filed with red-eye
and labeled "Santa's Brand."

© 2004, Clark Crouch
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission

 

 

A Stormy Christmas Eve

It had been snowing all day and
the skies were lookin' glum.
My mama started cryin' when
the mailman didn't come.

Tomorrow would be Christmas Day;
Dad said, "I'll ride to town."
He put his warm raccoon coat on
and pulled his big hat down.

Then my mama began to fret;
I saw her fingers drummin'.
"Do you think that you really should?
I fear a storm is comin' ".

My daddy said, "I'll be okay
because I'm ridin' Dan.
You know that horse will find the way.
He's smarter than a man."

Then Mama gave him a big kiss
and said, "Now do take care."
She waved him off into the storm
and wiped away her tear.

My mama plucked the turkey and
kept lookin' at the clock;
while little brother prattled on
about his Christmas sock.

The storm was growin' stronger and
the light turned into dark,
while I was just a wishin' I
would hear old Ringo bark.

Mama lit the ker'sene lamp
and started slicin' bread.
"I should have told him Christmas
could be late."  I think she said.

About then, I heard Ringo bark
and saw my mama smile.
I knew I'd hear my daddy at
the back door in a while.

Old Dan had brought him safely home
through cold and blowin' storm.
Daddy said that he was happy
to be back home and warm.

Then he said he'd met a stranger
while on his homeward way.
He recognized him since he drove
eight reindeer and red sleigh.

This trav'ler said he would be glad
to lighten up his pack
and much obliged if Daddy would
relieve him of a sack.

Brother and I went to our  beds
to wake to a surprise
from Santa Claus who Daddy said
he'd seen with his own eyes.

© 2004, Joyce Johnson 
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission


 

Temperance

The moon was hangin' lazy-like one foggy Christmas Eve
When O'Malley's closed up early and they asked me, nice, to leave.
I took along a bottle just to kind'a fight the cold,
And rode along and thought about the holidays of old.

Things were mighty different then: had family of my own
But I drank too much, drove 'em away, and now I'm all alone.
I should'a seen it comin', should'a given up the drink
But whiskey's one tough obstacle to a man who needs to think.

And so it was I'd lost it all, but hadn't changed my ways:
I'd spent the whole day offerin' toasts for "happy holidays."
By that time, the world was spinnin' badly in my head.
I sure was lookin' forward, boys, to layin' down in bed.

Now, weather gets real funny on the Anaconda Range
But one thing is for certain: in one minute, it can change
So I didn't hardly notice when the fog began a'clearin'
And who do you suppose it was that right then was appearin'?

His suit was red, his beard was white, but if you're at a loss
I'll tell ya plain and simple, boys, that fella's name was Claus!
I didn't stop to talk to him 'cause he was downright busy
And anyways, it's like I said: my head was awful dizzy.

A man can be too stubborn and refuse to see the light
And that was me all over, up until that very night
'Cause since I seen ol' Santa Claus a flyin' through the fog
I've sworn off rye and whiskey, boys: I'm stickin' with egg nog.

© 2004, Bruce Satta
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission

 

Christmas Night Ride

      The big yeller moon shone misty pale
      as I spurred my horse on down the trail.
      I was still two miles from my line shack
      and figured I'd best be headin' back. 

      It was Christmas Eve on the Bar R-D
      but it didn't have no effect on me.
      I'd sworn off Christmas years before
      and had no truck with it any more.     

      The air was crisp and getting cold,
      as winter began to get a squeeze hold.
      I could sense a coming mountain storm
      So I buttoned my jacket, to keep myself warm.
      
      I had spent my day stringing fence wire
      and was looking forward to a warm stove fire.
      But then I spotted strays up on the rim
      and knew it was my duty to attend to them.
      
      It was after dark when I finished the job.
      I was feelin tuckered out and rough as a cob
      so I pulled a bottle of whisky from my coat
      in hopes of staving off a sore throat.      
    
      That liquor was potent and powerful strong,
      and I started feeling it before too long.
      I was warming up and starting to feel great,
      until I begin to hallucinate.
      
      I heard something moving to the left of me
      but my vision was blurred and I could hardly see.
      I clutched my pistol and looked over that way
      and I swore I saw an airborne sleigh.
      
      There were twelve hitched reindeer pulling fast
      and my mouth dropped open as they flew past.
      The driver wore red and had a white beard
      and they left much faster than they had appeared.
     
      I rode on home and didn't dawdle
      but I shore 'threw away that whisky bottle.
      Excessive drinking's one of my biggest flaws -
      I almost throwed down on Santa Claus!

        © 2004, Harold Roy Miller
        This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission
      
   

Christmas in a Bottle

This here's the story of a cowboy named Scroggin,
That fell off his horse and landed on his noggin
While cleanin' out his pipe of tabacky dottle
And dreamin' of Santa in a whiskey bottle.

But if you ask Scroggin what happened that cold night,
He'll give you an odd answer that jest don't sit right.
He says he was stone sober as any ol' judge
And that he only drinks to escape the world's drudge.

And while true on that night he rode home with a flask,
It was still corked in his coat but up to the task.
Then as he rode bravely through the wind and the snow,
There appeared an apparition that he did know.

It was a fine fettered sleigh with eight strong reindeer
And a red-coated gent grinnin' from ear to ear!
Well, Scroggin dropped his pipe and fell off on his head
And lay still in the snow just like he was plum dead.

Ol' Scroggin dreamt him some dreams of flyin' on high,
Of laughter and times enough to make a man cry.
Yet when he awoke he was back in his warm bunk-
So it was all jest a big dream or so he thunk.

But there by the bed was the unopened flagon,
Whose dead brothers were many and that's not braggin'.
But on the brown bottle was tied a small white note
And this is what appeared there, just as it was wrote:

"What you saw last night, you cannot deny or hide,
The spirit of Christmas is yours-keep it inside."
And from that day on all Scroggin's drinkin' did stop,
And he kept Christmas well without drinkin' a drop.

© 2004, Glen Enloe
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission
      
   

 

 

  

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