Page Three



The Old Time Christmas

I liked the way we used to do,
   when cattle was plenty and folks was few.
The people gathered frum far and near, and
   they barbacued a big fat steer.
The kids tried stayin' awake because,
   they reckoned they might ketch Santa Claus.
Next mornin' you'd wake 'em up to see,
   what he'd been and put on the Christmas tree.

It was Christmas then fer the rich and pore,
   and every ranch was an open door.
The waddy that came on a company hoss
   was treated the same as the owner and boss.
Nobody seemed to have a care,
   you was in among friends or you wasn't there.
For every feller in them days knew
   to behave hisself as a man should do.

Some had new boots, which they'd shore admire
   when they warmed their feet in front of the fire.
And the wimmin folks had new clothes too,
   but not like the wimmin of these days do.
Sometimes a drifter came riding in,
   some feller that never was seen agin.
And each Christmas day as the years went on
   we used to wonder where they'd gone.

I like to recall the Christmas night.
   The tops of the mountains capped with white.
The stars so bright they seemed to blaze,
   and the foothills swum in a silver haze.
Them good old days is past and gone.
   The time and the world and the change goes on.
And you cain't do things like you used to do
   when cattle was plenty and folks was few.

Bruce Kiskaddon


Read more classic poetry from Bruce Kiskaddon here.


All American Christmas

An all-American Christmas is hard to have today
  with all the foreign imports that are packed in Santa's sleigh.
The toys all come from China, most clothes are from there too;
  it makes me wonder if his elves have anything to do.

The trees all come from Canada, the trimmin's  from Taiwan;
   as I read tags where things are from, I'm thinkin' something's wrong!
The coat I bought for hubby was made in Bangladesh;
   his Wranglers from Korea...from the Japanese, his vest.

And what was worse, I went to buy the food for Christmas Day;
  the turkeys that I sorted through had come from Uruguay.
The hams, they came from Mexico, the coffee from Brazil;
  that's where all the nuts came from...except for Uncle Bill!

There's fruitcake made in Germany, the rum is from there too;
   (perhaps that is the reason why poor Grandpa got the flu)
The lutefisk came from Norway, it smelled like something dead;
     the English and the Irish were the ones who made the bread.

Then I got to thinkin' that we'd just go out to eat,
    but all the fast-food joints serve the foreign kind of meat.
There's Mexican, Italian, and cafes that are Chinese;
    and even goat meat featured in those restaurants from Greece.

Everything's from somewhere else, I'll tell you folks, it's sad
   that an All-American Christmas is so hard to be had.
But from these foreign imports, if you'd like to find relief,
   just go down to your grocery store and buy American Beef!

2002, Yvonne Hollenbeck
 This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

This poem appeared in the South Dakota Stockgrowers magazine.

Read more poetry by Yvonne Hollenbeck here.


My Blue-Eyed Bay

We did some horse tradin' just after the molt,
Kirby got old Dan and me - an unbroke colt,
When I first handled him he lingered to stay,
This was a real good sign for the blue-eyed bay.
Still only a yearlin' he wasn't much use,
I just wanted a horse that'd had no abuse,
To get one I'd have to break it my way,
We'd get along fine, me and this blue-eyed bay.
Months of workin' him and sackin' him out,
One step at a time each day left no doubt,
He was a good one and had a good place to stay,
I was startin' out fine with my blue-eyed bay.
It took five bouts of buckin' 'fore I hit dirt,
When he finally threw me just my pride was hurt,
That was the last time he'd toss a rider away,
It all came together for my blue-eyed bay.
Months passed, he grew and he learned each gait,
But to lope with a rider he preferred to wait,
It would come out in time but in his own way,
He was movin' out fast now - my blue-eyed bay.
He loped first on the trail on an uphill swell,
That November mornin' it was clear as a bell,
There was more to come I could easily say,
I'd be gettin' there soon with my blue-eyed bay.
A horse worth ownin' has to give satisfaction,
A good head, soft eye and a whole lot of action,
You can get all this for the mere price of hay,
Most horses keep a' givin' like my blue-eyed bay.
One holiday mornin' in the soft arena dirt,
A loose rein, no spurs and no need for a quirt,
He picked up his leads and loped circles each way,
This, a true gift from my blue-eyed bay.
Now in that same spirit at the end of the year,
True gifts are those given in love without fear,
They come from the heart and in their own way,
So, Merry Christmas to all! - from me and my blue-eyed bay!

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

Horsing around with the Blue Eyed Bay

Read more poetry by Paul Kern here.



December's Trail Home

I hear tell this week it's Christmas,
At least the Trail Boss says it's so.
But it's hard to catch the spirit,
This far from kin and falling snow.

I've been ridin' drag so long,
My sense of smell has been displaced.
From San Antone' up through the Plains,
Dust and hide is all I taste.

Tin cup of coffee in my grip,
It's 'bout the only thing that's hot.
Out in the grasp of ice-cold wind,
Can't help but think of where I'm not.
Ma and Pa off in Nebraska,
On their farm of corn and wheat.
They proved up ground with soil so rich,
Like it'd been trod by God's own feet.

But bustin' sod was not my calling,
Behind a plow I couldn't stay.
My folks knew horses ran my veins,
And watched me ride off West one day.
These eyes bear witness to vast prairies,
Running Longhorn o'er the trail.
A saddle and a string of ponies,
Through bright sun, rain, wind or hail.
But this winter campfire has me thinking,
Reckoning what I'm all about.
If some Angel's came a calling,
Would I even hear their joyous shout?
Would I be like those old shepherds,
In the book of Holy Writ?
Scruffy Pards in charge of stock,
Hearing, "The Christ is born, now git!"
My small fire spitting in its ring,
Its flames undaunted by the night,
Convinces me to make a choice,
My heart affirms that it is right.
"Slim, wake up ya confound varmint,
I've got a piece of news to tell.
You know it's years since I seen kin,
It might be time I rest a spell.
'Cuz it's a week 'til Christmas Day,
And with Nebraska not too far.
If I saddle up old Gunner,
Maybe we'll find our yonder star."
I may not be in Isra-El,
And I sure weren't no wise Magi,
But cantering east away from Slim,
The sting of moisture hits my eyes.
I know my Pards will understand,
'Cuz I'm a Cowboy through and through.
I'll join them next month in Salina,
Bearing a soul as good as new.
In the meantime I'll see family,
That's what this Season's all about.
And like those Angels way back when,
The night will hear my joy ring out.
"Ya Gunner, git your hooves a runnin',
Let's cross the miles which block our way.
And Merry Christmas to ya boy,
For we'll be home that Holy day."

2003, Lincoln Rogers 
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


Read more poetry by Lincoln Rogers here.


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 Three



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