Page Five

 

 

Jest 'Fore Christmas

Father calls me William, sister calls me Will,
Mother calls me Willie but the fellers call me Bill!
Mighty glad I ain't a girl---ruther be a boy,
Without them sashes curls an' things that's worn by Fauntleroy!
Love to chawnk green apples an' go swimmin' in the lake--
Hate to take the castor-ile they give for belly-ache!
'Most all the time, the whole year round, there ain't no flies on me,
But jest'fore Christmas I'm as good as I kin be!

Got a yeller dog named Sport, sick him on the cat.
First thing she knows she doesn't know where she is at!
Got a clipper sled, an' when us kids goes out to slide,
'Long comes the grocery cart, an' we all hook a ride!
But sometimes when the grocery man is worrited an' cross,
He reaches at us with his whip, an' larrups up his hoss,
An' then I laff an' holler, "Oh, ye never teched me!"
But jest'fore Christmas I'm as good as I kin be!

Gran'ma says she hopes that when I git to be a man,
I'll be a missionarer like her oldest brother, Dan,
As was et up by the cannibals that live in Ceylon's Isle,
Where every prospeck pleases, an' only man is vile!
But gran'ma she has never been to see a Wild West show,
Nor read the life of Daniel Boone, or else I guess she'd know
That Buff'lo Bill an' cowboys is good enough for me!
Excep' jest 'fore Christmas, when I'm as good as I kin be!

And then old Sport he hangs around, so solemn-like an' still,
His eyes they seem a-sayin': "What's the matter, little Bill?"
The old cat sneaks down off her perch an' wonders what's become
Of them two enemies of hern that used to make things hum!
But I am so perlite an' tend so earnestly to biz,
That mother says to father: "How improved our Willie is!"
But father, havin' been a boy hisself, suspicions me
When, jest 'fore Christmas, I'm as good as I kin be!

For Christmas, with its lots an' lots of candies, cakes an' toys,
Was made, they say, for proper kids an' not for naughty boys;
So wash yer face an' bresh yer hair, an' mind yer p's and q's,
And don't bust out yer pantaloons, and don't wear out yer shoes;
Say "Yessum" to the ladies, and "Yessur" to the men,
An' when they's company, don'a pass yer plate for pie again;
But, thinkin' of the things yer'd like to see upon that tree,
Jest 'fore Christmas be as good as yer kin be!

Eugene Field (1850-1895)

 

Country Christmas 

Christmas in the country is a different sort'a thing.
A quiet, peaceful, solitude, that nature seems to bring.

Yet, some folks from the city feel sad we miss so much.
Tinsel town mall muffin's think: We're really out of touch!

No decorated streets to flaunt the merchants floats paradin'.
No helicoptored Santa's land to sirens serenadin'.

Far removed from distant crowds of noisy people shoppin',
scramblin' hard toout do friends, must really keep'em hoppin'.

We have no crowded shopping malls chuck full'a plastic toys.
No bands a tootin' Christmas songs that get lost in the noise.

The curried groves of pine and spruce that crowd each vacant space,
designer colors coat the boughs and take away their grace!

I'm givin' thought to such as this as we come 'round the bend,
the team now breaks into a trot as they see journey's end.

With full moon just a peekin' o'er the mountains to the east,
its light careens off snow clad trees and gives our eyes a feast.

Beside me in the bobsleigh, is a Christmas tree a ridin',
and faces framed by fur trimmed caps are laughin' as we're glidin'.

Just up ahead, a cabin's light, smoke curlin' from its stack.
A cheery voice is callin' out--"So glad to see you're back!"

Aroma of good things to eat, a driftin' out our way,
makes us want to hurry as we feed the team their hay.

We finish chores, then take the tree, into the house for Mom to see--
We knew that she would tell our Dad: "Prettiest tree we've ever had!"

Christmas morning! What a sight! Not much sleepin' here last night.
Grandfolks made it through the drifts, family fun, exchange of gifts.

We told our stories, laughed at Dad, best Christmas that we've ever had!
At Christmas time don't pity me--This is what they all should be!!

2001, Sam Jackson
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

Read more poetry by Sam Jackson here.

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

 

Visit our Art Spur project for our 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 Five

 

 

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