Page Twelve



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 the author's written permission.


Read more of Colen Sweeten's poetry here.


A Cowboy's Christmas Prayer

The worn and wrinkled cowboy
slowly shaved and combed his hair.
He picked the finest clothes he had
and then he dressed with care.
He stomped into his new bought boots
and shrugged into his coat.
The others would have questioned him,
but his thoughts seemed quite remote.

He stepped out of the bunkhouse,
and pulled his hat down tight,
Then climbed aboard his private horse
and rode into the night.
The single footin' gelding
ate the miles without a pause
And seemed to know the rider
had a most important cause.

Twenty miles on through the night,
with the rider deep in thought,
The stars came out to guide his way
to the goal the ride had bought.
His horse stopped on a gentle rise,
tho' the rider pulled no rein,
And the cowboy raised his head to stare
'Cross the quiet and lonely plain

He crawled down off the weary horse,
loosed the cinch so it could blow,
Then walked a yard or two away
and knelt down in the snow.
He crushed his hat against his chest,
raised his face up to the sky,
And then he started talking
like a friend was standing by.

"Lord, you see I rode a piece tonight
'Cause I knowed that you'd be here.
Course you wuz at the bunkhouse too,
but on this hill ya' seems  near.
As I look acrost this prairie
and see the things you¹ve made,
Why, comparin' things us men has done
really puts 'em in the shade."

"I thank you for the love you show
in everything you do,
And I'm proud to be a top-hand
with a loyal happy crew.
I've still got all my fingers,
my legs are bowed, but tough,
Rheumatiz' ain't touched my bones,
and my mind is sharp enough."

"Your spirit gives me comfort,
and I know that when I die,
You'll let me rest forever
at that bunkhouse in the sky.
Forgive me when I wander off,
like a wild jug-headed hoss,
And I pray You'll not give up on me
'fore I learn that you're the boss."

"I've rode out here to tell you
I'm thankful for a Savior's birth,
And to send you MERRY CHRISTMAS
from your folks down here on earth."
Then he mounted up and rode away
with a casual good-bye nod.
A cowboy with his heart at peace
in the palm of the hand of God.

© Gail T. Burton
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 poetry by Gail T. Burton here.


What's it all about, Charlie Brown ?

And, Lo, The Angel of the Lord Came upon them, and The Angel said unto them
Fear not: for behold I bring you tidings of great joy!

I feel a lot like Charlie Brown,
each year when Christmas comes around.
The message is lost it seems to me,
when too much tinsel hides the tree.

The Babe in The Manger ,
The Promise and Plan,
Peace on Earth
and goodwill to all Man.

He never said it would be easy,
to turn the other cheek,
But the only road to salvation,
Is the path of the meek.

May Your Christmas be merry,
Full of hope and good cheer,
and the true Joy of the Season,
Be with You all Year!

© 2004, Mike Puhallo
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 poetry by Mike Puhallo here.

You can read a fresh Meadow Muffin from Mike every week at the BCCHS Cowboy Poets' page and at


A Rancher's Christmas

The Belgian mares stand calm
Their hot breath in his palm
Each head caressed, hitched two abreast
Their anxiousness to qualm

The cubes and bales to load
Then drive the snow packed road
The cattle fed from off the sled
Faith is this cowboy's code

New life seems everywhere
From calves, to a foalin' mare
The bleating sheep, their lambs asleep
Kittens purr behind the stair

Inside the barn they're warm
They're safe from weather's harm
The Belgians neigh at sun's first ray
Each new dawn has it's charm

This morn is Christmas day
When Christian souls will pray
On bended knee, they all will see
Christ provided the way

The rancher took the time
Gave thanks for life sublime
For friends so dear, for loved ones near
Warm messages that rhyme

His home is full of love
And blessings from above
Knowing each year, from friends he'll hear
Giving winter blues a shove

To all he sends this thought
From grown to tiny tot
Christ is real, all wounds He'll heal
If in your heart He's sought

© 2004, Brenda "Sam" DeLeeuw
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


Read more poety by Sam DeLeeuw here


A Day In December

In a line shack in the mountains of Utah
In late December so cold
My ol' dog Ry, with his two light blue eyes,
Lays watchin' the warm glowing coal

White pine and a jackknife keep me company
As I carve out a small wooden horse
On the long winter nights, the old oil lamp lights,
Those bare walls of logs cut so coarse

My memories go back to my young days
When my mother and I went to town
This same time of year, 'cause she wanted to hear,
A preacher that was comin' around

He spoke of a mother and father
And a young baby just barely born
I remember a star, and three men traveled far,
And angels that played golden horns

I recall there was somethin' said of cattle
And how they were quiet and still
Near the baby so small, as he lay in the stall,
In a stable near the top of a hill

"The babe was a king", said the preacher
"That shepherds and rich men would praise
He was sent to this earth, in a humble quiet birth,
And in December we remember that day"

I've seldom set foot inside a church
Only one or two times at the most
I'm a cowboy that rides, and kicks dogies sides,
And goes searchin' for strays that are lost

But when snow falls my thoughts are of mother
And the preacher who stood there so tall
On a day in December, and a tale I remember,
Of a star and a baby so small

© 2003, Jan Erickson
This poems may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


Read more poetry by Jan Erickson here


Remember Christmas

Remember how yer eyes lit up
At first glance under the tree
Thru the Sandman¹s sandy work
There you could finally see
    What was left behind by you know who
While you dreamt on Christmas Eve
You made the nice list, nothing missed
Secret wishes he did leave

Remember when to cut a tree
You hitched a heavy team
And dragged out a goodun
Though sparse and not too green
    So began the drilling of limbs
    And attaching of wire to wall
    For the tree did grow a healthy bow
Every second year one would fall

Remember seeing horses breath
Colored smoky white and blue
Chores on Christmas morning
Was as if the animals knew
    You could see it in their eyes
    And in their calm behavior
    It¹s Christmas day the birthday
    Of our Lord and our Savior

While your remembering, remember those three wise men
That were guided by the Eastern star
To the birth of Jesus Christ
Bearing gifts they traveled far
    And remember why that pointed object
    Was carefully placed atop the tree
    Reminding us Jesus Christ was born that morn
    And gave his life for thee

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


Read more poetry by Diamond Doug Keith 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 Twelve



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