Charley Sierra A
Lanny Joe Burnett Nightwork
A Christmas Poem
Christmas is a-comin' soon!
Pardner, ain't ya seen?
The decorations showed up
In the stores on Halloween!
The papers just plumb fulla ads;
Some days it's three feet thick!
That's good-we got a woodstove,
'N' we're short on kindlin' sticks.
The kids all hope that Santa
Brings 'em ever'thing they chose;
"I want a Nintendo!"
"Please don't bring me any clothes!"
The Sally Army's out in force,
A-tunin' up their band;
I always drop a dollar,
'Cause they once gave me a hand.
There's some who say we've lost the track,
'N' don't know rhyme or reason,
That all this hooraw overlooks
The spirit of the season.
They point 'n' say I don't believe,
'Cause in church ya'll never find me;
But I don't need no hymns, or prayers,
Or crosses to remind me.
This year, I think I'll try
What one ole cowpoke used to do;
I'll saddle up, 'n' leave a note:
"Back in an hour, or two."
I'll ride west outta Reno,
A-followin' the river,
'Way up into the mountains
Where the air's so cold it shimmers.
Far away from stores 'n' crowds,
Where the only single sound
Will be my pony's muffled steps
Through the snow upon the ground.
'N' when I reach the perfect spot
(I'll know it when I'm there),
I'll doff my hat, 'n' feel
The icy wind blow through my hair.
I'll find the brightest star that night,
Gaze up at it, 'n' say,
"Happy Birthday, Boss,"
'N' then I'll softly ride away.
© 1994 Rip-Snortin' Press
Read more poems by Charley Sierra here.
I'd been at the ranch less than a year
I was warm in the bunkhouse when the foreman appeared
He said, "Jonesy, you're low man -- this task falls to you
There's a new calf missing -- Its mother is, too
Saddle up Mack; don't forget your maguey
I hate to send you out on this cold Christmas Eve
But coyotes are hungry -- This year has been hard
We can't stand to lose even one little pard."
As I rode through the snow in the blustery wind
I complained to myself 'bout the shape I was in
Tonight meant the barn dance . . . pretty girls, lots of laughs
I'd miss it all, thanks to one snot-nosed calf
My job seemed hopeless, an impossible test
But since I was out here I'd give it my best
We'd start in the open and work towards the rough
I pointed Mack north and hoped for some luck.
We scoured the pastures, the gullies, the hills
But nothing was moving; it was quiet and still
We rode down the canyon and up past the draw
And that's when I saw them . . . It filled me with awe
Alone in a clearing, not trying to run
Quiet and peaceful, stood mother and son
Slowly they looked up -- their eyes all aglow
And I was reminded of a scene long ago.
My throat got a lump; my eyes got a tear
I'm lucky, I thought, to have ended up here
Where hardships are many, but blessings are, too
Where a short draw can lead to a soul-shaking view
I got off my horse and knelt in the drifts
And I said, "Thank you, Jesus, for all of the gifts
By myself, I'm not much, but I'll do what I can
I've got my own saddle; can I ride for your brand?
Read about Lanny Joe Burnett here.
Page Twelve of Fourteen
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