Page Four

 

 

The Christmas Trail

The wind is blowin' cold down the mountain tips of snow
   And 'cross the ranges layin' brown and dead;
It's cryin' through the valley trees that wear the mistletoe
   And mournin' with the gray clouds overhead.
Yes it's sweet with the beat of my little hawse's feet
   And I whistle like the air was warm and blue
For I'm ridin' up the Christmas trail to you, 
                  Old folks,
   I'm a-ridin' up the Christmas trail to you.

Oh, mebbe it was good when the whinny of the Spring
   Had weedled me to hoppin' of the bars.
And livin' in the shadow of a sailin' buzzard's wing
   And sleepin' underneath a roof of stars.
But the bright campfire light only dances for a night,
   While the home-fire burns forever clear and true,
So 'round the year I circle back to you, 
                   Old folks,
   'Round the rovin' year I circle back to you.

Oh, mebbe it was good when the reckless Summer sun
   Had shot a charge of fire through my veins,
And I milled around the whiskey and the fightin' and fun
   'Mong the mav'ricks drifted from the plains.
Ay, the pot bubbled hot, while you reckoned I'd forgot,
   And the devil smacked the young blood in his stew,
Yet I'm lovin' every mile that's nearer you,
                   Good folks,
   Lovin' every blessed mile that's nearer you.

Oh, mebbe it was good at the roundup in the Fall,
   When the clouds of bawlin' dust before us ran,
And the pride of rope and saddle was a-drivin' of us all
   To stretch of nerve and muscle, man and man.
But the pride sort of died when the man got weary eyed;
   'Twas a sleepy boy that rode the nightguard through,
And he dreamed himself along a trail to you,
                    Old folks,
   Dreamed himself along a happy trail to you.

The coyote's Winter howl cuts the dusk behind the hill,
   But the ranch's shinin' window I kin see,
And though I don't deserve it and, I reckon, never will,
   There'll be room beside the fire kep' for me.
Skimp my plate 'cause I'm late.  Let me hit the old kid gait,
   For tonight I'm stumblin' tired of the new
And I'm ridin' up the Christmas trail to you,
                     Old folks,
   I'm a-ridin' up the Christmas trail to you.

Badger Clark 

 

Read more poetry by Badger Clark here.

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

 

 

A Badger Clark Christmas

Way up in South Dakota's realm
it's nearin' Christmastime.
the snow's upon the Black Hills deep
in ponderosa pine.
 
The buffalo have wintered in,
most creatures gone to ground,
yet near a place called Badger Hole
you just might hear this sound. 

The distant ring of harness bells
across a silver lake
comes driftin' through the swayin' trees
along with swirlin' flake. 

"The wind, the wind, the good free wind,"
a voice calls from the dark,
and I've heard tell 'round Christmastime
it might be Badger Clark. 

For no one loved this season more
when winter winds blow free
than he who lived in Badger Hole
and penned such poetry. 

It doesn't seem so odd at all
that at this time of year,
a spirit from a Christmas past
should once again appear. 

You just might hear his, "Home at last,"
within a wooded vale,
he's ridden all the year around
to reach this Christmas trail. 

"Oh folks," he seems to whisper low,
"a campfire dims alone,
but bright and for eternity
the hearth and fires of home."
 
Each season holds a special place
but winter's wind is bold
and signals time for headin' in
to all both young and old. 

Way up in South Dakota's realm
it's nearin' Christmastime.
the snow's upon the Black Hills deep
in ponderosa pine. 

The buffalo have wintered in,
most creatures gone to ground
but not the soul of Badger Clark
at Christmas homeward bound.

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


The Christmas Corral

Just east of the West Texas mountains
where cattle once roamed long ago,
there's a weathered corral now abandoned
on a trail bound for New Mexico.

Like a landmark it stands on the prairie
no longer of use as before,
except with the coming of Christmas
when cowboys will gather once more.

For traditions die hard in West Texas
and this one is one of the best:
how a place where the longhorns were herded
one Christmas was wonderfully blessed.

The pen was put up in the old days
where mustangs were broken it seems,
and sometimes where cattle were branded
as part of a cowboy's routine.

A mission had started to rise up,
a town had been part of a plan,
but that never happened as time passed
and few ever went there again.

It was late in December one evenin'
some cowboys were movin' some steers,
when out of the distance they heard it
the ring of a bell loud and clear.

Not knowin' the source of this wonder
they followed the sound on the wind,
and there to their utter amazement,
they came on this weathered old pen.

And there high above on an archway
for reasons that no one could tell,
someone had taken the trouble to hang
this wondrous and ancient old bell.

"Boys you may think me a foolish old cuss,"
a grizzled old hand now exclaimed,
"but I got a feelin' the Lord is at work,
and I'm for one glad that we came."

"You know in a few days it's Christmas out here,
and I ain't fogettin' that none.
You send out the word we'll be gatherin' boys
right here where that mission bell rung."

And sure as the Angels of Heaven once came
the good news reached out to all men.
That Christmas for all faithful cowboys
would be at that weathered old pen.

How wondrous the ways of the Father
Who came to this Earth as a babe,
to lie in a manger, a stable
where cattle and horses once stayed.

Cowboys wherever you're headin' tonight
you're welcome to join with the men
who'll worship the birth of the Savior
'neath the bell of that weathered old pen.

Just east of the West Texas mountains
where cattle once roamed long ago,
there's a weathered corral now abandoned
on a trail bound for New Mexico.

Like a landmark it stands on the prairie
no longer of use as before,
except with the coming of Christmas
when cowboys will gather once more.

2006, Rod Nichols
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

  

Read more poetry by Rod Nichols here.

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


 

Christmas Turkeys

To earn some extra Christmas cash
In years when times were hard,
My Grandma raised some turkey chicks
Who ran free in the yard.

Those birds weren't penned like those today,
They thought they owned the place.
They chased the bugs and scratched for seeds,
And guarded well their space.

They grew to be big ugly birds
With wattles hanging down.
Their fearsome gobbles scared the kids,
Especially those from town.

When any child dared get too close,
The Big Tom would attack.
The kid ran shrieking toward the house,
And never did come back.

That turkey was about as mean
As rocks inside a boot.
And he liked nothing better than
To run in hot pursuit.

My grandma sold the others off,
But no one wanted him.
The chance of selling one so big
Was something less than slim.

What ranchers couldn't sell they ate,
That's what we had to do.
We knew that when we at Big Tom,
We'd chew and chew and chew.

By Christmas he weighed 40 pounds.
We ate him Christmas day.
Although he tasted dry and tough,
Revenge was sweet I'd say.

2004, Jane Morton, from Turning to Face the Wind
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 

jmturkeystif.gif (261657 bytes)

See Picture the West for Jane Morton's 1920s-era photo of these turkeys on her family's Colorado ranch.

Read more of Jane Morton's poetry here.

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

 

Desert Cowboy's Christmas

The bells this cowboy's hearin',
     aren't off of any sleigh.
They're 'round the necks of the old milk cows
     comin' in for their mornin' hay.

There've been other times and places,
     where there weren't snowflakes fallin',
But he can't remember a Christmas,
     when there weren't cattle bawlin'.

The desert air is chilled,
     as daylight tints the sky.
It's plenty cold enough for frost
     but the air is just too dry.

Against the graying pre-dawn
     there's a darker silhoutte.
A remuda horse has just come in,
     but he can't tell which one yet.

The faint scent of creosote brush
     drifts on the mornin' breeze,
And prob'ly because of the day
     makes him think of Christmas trees.

Pausing, he watches the sunrise
     break the hold of the night.
Objects begin to emerge from the dark
     changing form in the light.

Saguaro, arms reaching skyward,
     cottonwood trees, bare limbed.
A rooster up on the big corral fence
     sittin' there crowin' at him.

An old cow begins to bawl,
     knowin' it's time for feed.
He breaks the bales and scatters the hay,
     and the others follow her lead.

Cattle and man have a bond,
     they've always been his life.
Over the years they've taken the place
     of a family and a wife.

As seasons follow seasons,
     he's never changed direction.
Horses, cattle, and wide-open spaces,
     the "cowboy connection."

 "Merry Christmas, Girls," he calls,
     "here's a little extra hay.
An old cowboy likes to do his part
     to make this a special day!"

His Christmas seldom means presents,
     or bright lights on a tree,
More a time to pause and reflect
     on the way a man ought to be.

Some folks don't understand this,
     but it really isn't so strange.
It's what a cowboy's life's all about,
     to a shepherd of the range. 

Carole Jarvis
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 

Read more poetry by Carole Jarvis here.

 

 

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.

 

 

Merry Procrastination?

They count down the days 'til Christmas.
Why must they rub it in?
When it comes to Christmas shopping,
I'm never sure where to begin.
Of course my wife does all the shopping,
for the kids and family.
So she is the only one that's left,
on the shopping list for me.
I'll get to town, pretty quick,
Just another day or two I'll leave,

Only Twenty shopping days 'til I get trampled
in the mob on Christmas Eve!
 
2006, Mike Puhallo
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 

Read more poetry by Mike Puhallo here.

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

 

 

 

See a complete list of all the holiday poems posted since 2000 here.

See the links here for holiday news and more.

 


 

 

 

Page Four

 

 

 

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