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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.


A Christmas Prayer

Sure is pretty here tonight, there's excitement in the air
Busy shoppers hustle home through Central Park.
The tree must be ten stories tall in Rockefeller Square
A million lights are sparkling in the dark.

It's a fast-paced life I'm living; it's first class all the way.
Fancy office, fancy parties, fancy things.
"I'm shooting for the works" is what my friends all heard me say,
And now I dine with presidents and kings.

Oh, it's glamorous all right, success and all the rest.
And maybe it's this little skiff of snow.
But tonight I'm kind of lonesome for a little place out west,
And a cowboy down the road I used to know.

I bet an opal moon shines on the Eastern Slopes tonight,
The hills lie still beneath a snowy shawl.
Chores are done, the porch light's on, a fire crackles bright,
Maybe Ian's singing at the Longview Hall.

It's the symphony for me tonight, Champagne and caviar.
Oh, the swirl and sway and sparkle of this place!
But you know, I kind of long to hear a cowboy's soft guitar
And to feel a warm Chinook upon my face.

Where'd she go-that little girl who used to live in cowboy boots,
Made sure each year the reindeer got some hay.
She's not gone far-just dresses now in silk designer suits
And is living life the New York City way.

Sure is pretty here tonight, there's excitement in the air.
A dab of French perfume—my cab is here.
In the swirl and sway and sparkle, I say a Christmas prayer:
"May it be Christmas in Alberta for me next year."

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

Read more of Doris Daley's poetry 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 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
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


Photo by Jeri L. Dobrowski

Read more of DW Groethe's poetry here.



A Christmas Thought

When northern lights are flashin' bright
          with shades of every hue
And fresh snow cover on the range
          makes this whole world look new.
While ridin' home beneath these lights,
          lettin' horse just pick his way,
You scan this world that looks so clean
          and think of Christmas Day.

Now, you marvel how the world is touched
          by nature's evenin' light
Each limb that's piled up high with snow,
         each post that's capped with white.
And for the Christmas times a' comin'
        you smile and wish from here
That friends and family and folks afar
        have a Christmas filled with cheer.

Then when you reach the home corral
        with comforts waitin' there,
You smell the smells of this, your world,
        while horse enjoys his fare.
Your table waits with food and warmth
        and family gives life reason,
Then from your heart comes many thanks
        for another Christmas season.

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


photo by Jen Dobrowski

Read more of Slim McNaught's poetry here.


The Gate Cut

Mr. Avery said this morning we could all have Christmas off,
  In fact, knock off at noon on Christmas Eve.
That tickled all the boys with families here in Silver City,
  but there's no time for me to drive to Tennessee.
My family has gotten used to me not being 'round the tree
  and I've not been to church in twenty years,
'Cept for Billy Meecham's wedding and to bury Grandpa Tom,
  just the memory of it still brings me to tears.

So I feel a little distant from the whole religious thing
  As I put my saddle on this fleabit gray,
And if some one ask, "what's this Christmas all about?"
  I'm not sure I'd know exactly what to say.
So I decided to do some thinking while puttin' out some salt,
  'bout how the Christ Child's birthday should fit in with me,
And what I should be doin' when Christmas finally comes,
  and I'm a long way from my family's Christmas tree.

It seems the celebration should be about the Man himself,
  and the turkey and the tree are just for trim.
Cause what matters is the feeling a believer's got in his heart
  That wouldn't be there if it weren't for him.
So maybe if I get my mind right, I can still have me some Christmas
 Just by thinkin' on the things that matter most.
"bout how he was born and lived and died, and everything he said,
  About the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost.

If I close my eyes I can almost see my family,
  as they bow their heads to say the Christmas prayer.
And I'll bet the first out of Mama's mouth is how she's wishin'
  That her saddle tramp son could just be there.
Tonight I'll pull that Bible out she gave me, when I went off to the Army,
  And in the campfire light I'll try to read His Word,
And hope this worthless cowboy has a chance to make the Gate cut,
  When old Gabriel comes to gather in the herd.

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


Read more of Michael Henley's poetry here.



In a Manger

It was cold and late when I came to the gate.
The big dipper was upside down.
I had rode hellbent and my horse was spent,
And it was still thirty miles to town.

I watered my horse as I looked at the house,
Its windows were showing no light
So I fumbled and scratched for the barn door latch,
And we borrowed their barn for the night.

I felt my way to the timothy hay,
And filled the manger in one empty stall.
It turned out all right, there was enough moonlight,
Squeezin' in through the cracks in the wall.

Then I climbed into the manger and burrowed down some,
Being careful to cover my feet.
For that comfortin' hay o'er the spot where I lay,
Was the supper old Tony must eat.

I lay there just thinkin', mostly 'bout home,
And my wife and my two year old boy
About fifteen below and the miles I must go,
Or I knew there'd be no Christmas joy.

I'm laying in a manger, just like my Lord!
The thought brought a tear to my cheek.
I wanted to pray, but no words I could say,
Just too overcome and humbled to speak.

Then I thought of the shepherds who had traveled as I
To the place where the bright star shone.
And wise men drawing nigh to the light in the sky,
With their gifts to acknowledge His own.

I thought of the hand carved gifts made of pine,
In my saddlebags dripping with foam.
Not really so fine, but the carvin' was mine,
And he'd know that his father was home.

Then the wind settled down and dawn came around,
And my eyes were still open wide.
Still hungry and tired but newly inspired,
I set off on the thirty mile ride.

"Lying in a manger," when I read it now,
Has a much broader meaning, I've found.
That night in a manger that was owned by a stranger
Turned my way of livin' around.

© Colen H. Sweeten Jr.
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without permission.


Photo by Jeri L. Dobrowski

See tributes to Colen Sweeten here and read more of his poetry here.



See a complete list of all the holiday poems from 2000-2008 here.

See the links here for holiday news and more.


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