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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.


Read more classic poetry from Badger Clark here.

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



The Spirit of Christmas

We were two kids in a cow camp,
Christmas drawing near.
Not much food, no money to spend,
The way ahead was drear.

We had one old hen and shared the egg,
She laid once in a while.
An important decision we had to make,
Now it makes me smile.

Should we keep feeding that old hen?
She was a lazy beast.
Or forget the sentiment and chop off her head?
For our Christmas feast?

Old Tom was a neighbor,
Up the creek a' way.
We could invite him to our feast,
And brighten his Christmas day.

He had given us some apples,
From which could be made a pie.
With that and the chicken all cooked up,
The livin' would be high.

Tom had no one else to care for him,
And was happy to share the meal.
He had helped us out several times,
Our friendship for him was real.

The plates were tin, forks didn't match.
But somehow we didn't care,
For we were warm and we were dry,
And the spirit of Christmas was there.

Georgie Sicking, from her book, Just More Thinking 
 This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

Georgie told us this is poem from her own experiences when she was 17 and she and her 15 year old brother were on their own.  She said it was the first time she had ever cooked a holiday meal.  "Tom" was the only adult they knew and they often counted on him for guidance. For example, when a pig broke its back falling from a bridge, they went to Tom to learn how to butcher it. They couldn't afford to waste a thing.

Read more poetry by Georgie Sicking 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




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