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A Cowboy's Christmas Prayer

It was almost Christmas time
   And I was rockin' in my old chair
Me 'n the Lord was doin' some visitin'
   I guess most folks 'd call it a prayer

Except they never do no listenin'
     And that's the best part of the deal
I've learned through the years to unplug my ears
     When I've told Him just how I feel

"Thank you Lord, It's been a nice fall
   The cows look good," says I
"It'd sure be nice if you'd bump up the price
   But I reckon that we can get by"

I went on to ask for a healin'
   For a friend of mine in a jam
And to Bless my kids in all they did
   An' extra angels to hold their hand

And I pro'bly prayed for wisdom
   I have a million times
And for my Ma and my Dad and the life I've had
   And that little woman of mine

Then lookin' out the back window
   Light snow was beginin' to fall
It was comin' straight down, not makin' a sound
   Plain to see it was only a squall

But cows were trailin' in from the ridge
   Stretched out in a long red line
I was filled with dismay, they're lookin' for hay
   They're spoiled those critters of mine

"Just look at that Lord," I said in disgust,
   "They've got grass plumb up to their ear.
One little squall and they start to bawl,
   They think they're dyin'. Ya hear?"

Now that's when the Lord answered
   I was gettin' my coat to keep warm
And I heard real clear, His voice in my ear
"They know where to come in a storm."

"They know if they think they're hungry
   Even though you know it ain't true.
You'll be there right away with a fork full of hay.
   They know they can count on you."

"In return they give you the best that they've got
   Though spoiled it's true they could be
They think it's a need, that extra feed
   Sorta like you.. and Me."

"You know where to come when it's stormin'
   And that I'm here for your every need
Best get on that coat and get goin'
   Looks like you've got cows to feed."

1998 Ken Overcast
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


Read stories by Ken Overcast here in his occasional BAR-D column, Bear Valley Tales.


Sermon on the Mount

I sit here on my steadfast horse
  while the moon begins its nightly course
I'm ridin' nightherd, so I guess there's time
  to reflect upon this life of mine.

My right leg is crooked over the saddle horn
  as I wait for signs of the imminent morn'.
It's not hard for a cowboy's thoughts to dwell
  upon his Creator, and the Lord's words, as well.

The wind carries the sound through the night air
  of the grazing remuda, and the belled mare.
My horse would like to join them, I can imagine,
  and I'd like to be sleeping, like the others, by the wagon.

But, instead, I'm here, and I'm wonderin' how
  anyone who's ever worked with a cow
Could disbelieve that there is a God
  who put us upon this wonderful sod.

Ain't it amazin' how an old mama cow
  will go off by herself, away from the crowd
And for the most part, calve out, without hardly coughin',
  tho' we take it for granted, we see it so often.

And what about those geese I saw fly by today?
  Who tells them to fly southward, and which is the right way?
And my horse's winter coat, now that's a strange thing,
  and who tells him he should shed it when winter turns to spring?

A cowboy might think that an eclipse is a mystery,
  tho' we've seen them many times, all down through posterity.
But, ain't it something how the sun and moon have their charted courses?
  And how a mighty river springs from the smallest of mountain sources?

This manger scene before me reminds me of my Saviour's birth,
  and that God would give His only Son to die for all the earth.
I'll never understand it all, I can only believe...
  just like I'll never savvy how a spider learns to weave.

My horse stomps his forefoot, and champs at his curb bit.
  Our job tonight is over and I'm right glad of it.
I believe there is a God, if my opinion you would count,
  and I hope that you will pardon...this sermon on my mount.

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

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

Read more of Virginia Bennett's poetry here.


Visit our Art Spur project for poems 
inspired by Charlie Russell's "Seein' Santa."

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





Page Eight



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