Special:  Holiday Poems

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 Special Gifts

The Sugar Plums

Linda Kirkpatrick  THE CHRISTMAS STORY

Larry Dudley  THE BILL

McCloud  THE CHRISTMAS STORY

Francine Roark Robison A COWBOY CHRISTMAS

Happy holidays folks!

 

The Christmas Story 

The kerosene lamp burned brightly all night in the window that faced to the south.
A blue norther blew through the cracks in the door; the rain would soon end the drought.
He left her early that morning to search for that black baldy cow,
That cow always had trouble calving; he must sell her someday, somehow.

His wife, she would not worry until sunset as the wind still blew up the draw.
It would not warm the entire day and the water in the trough wouldn't thaw.
She'd be up all night waiting for him while the lamp flickered and the wind blew cold.
She'd lay the Bible on the rickety old table to again read the story of old.

They had always read it together, the story of the first Christmas Eve,
But tonight she would read it without him, as she tried very hard not to grieve.
Then the creak of his saddle awoke her, as he put the stray cow in the pen.
She raised her head from the Bible and wondered where in the world he'd been.

She built up the fire in the old wood stove and brewed coffee in the old porcelain pot.
She heard him merrily call her name as he came to the house at a trot.
He bounded up the steps of the weathered old porch, as he tried to forget the cold.
He could hardly believe the events of the night, a night he would forever behold.

He'd left out early on that Christmas Eve morn, headed out towards the Rio Grande.
That old blue norther chilled him to the bone as he rode cross this barren cold land.
He rode all day in search of that cow, no telling where she could be,
And then at dusk he found her and her calf, sheltered ‘neath an old mesquite tree.

As the sun set slowly in the west, "Let's head on home," he said.
But they hadn't gone but a mile or two when they came to an abandoned old shed.
They'd best stop here and camp for the night and get out of this howling gale.
He knew that she'd be worried, and that sad old wind did wail.

But wait, what was that noise he heard?  The wind was now only a sigh.
The stars lit the heavens and desert below as he opened the shed door wide.
"Por favor, Senor," the young Mexican said.  "We are lost and don't know the way.
Could we please shelter in your shed tonight?  You see mi esposa needs a place to stay."

"Seguro que si, yes, you can!" the cowboy replied.  "I'd be honored to have you stay.
We'll stoke the fire and warm you up.  It's been a long, cold, dreary day."
"My name is Jose and this is Maria," the young Mexican said with pride.
"Tonight I fear the babe will come; Maria has had a long, long hard ride."

The donkey she rode stood quite still, as they helped Maria to the ground.
"Gracias, gracias!" he thanked him again.  His words rang with a heavenly sound.
They fixed Maria a bed made of hay, then soon they all went to sleep.
But they awoke to the voice of a shepherd, calling softly to his sheep.

The norther outside had stopped blowing, the stars were shinning bright.
And there in the manger, a baby, born on this holiest, holiest of nights.
Then thundering hooves broke the silence they were unable to say a word.
As out of the darkness came cattle, a ghostly stampeding herd.

The herd was followed by cowboys, apparitions all clothed in white.
Their saddles were laden with silver; they were such a heavenly sight.
The horses they rode were translucent, from their hooves lightening did spark.
They came in a luminous whirlwind, they made the night no longer seem dark.

They dismounted and approached the manger and left their cache on the ground.
They remounted and rode off in silence; no one made a sound.
The cowboy finally caught his breath, while Jose and Maria did pray.
They thanked the Lord for the baby and the gifts they were given this day.

They covered the babe with a poncho, even though it was tattered and old.
They knew that it would protect him from the wind and the bone chilling cold.
               The cowboy awoke the next morning; in the night the fire had gone out.
But where was Jose and Maria?  As silently he looked about.

"Guess I must a’ been dreaming," he said as he carefully looked around.
He poured the last of his coffee on an amber coal on the ground.
He picked up his saddle and blanket and as he prepared to go
He noticed lying in the manger a tattered and old poncho.

He folded it gently to put in his pack, took his saddle and went to the door,
He then saw the note that was tacked to a post, "Muchas, gracias, forever, Senor."
He thought of his life here in Texas, he thought of his wife at home,
He knew she was worrying about him; he knew she was cold and alone.

He pointed the cow and calf north, if he hurried he could make home soon.
If they didn't have any problems, he could be at his table by noon.
The lamp in the window would welcome him and happily he called her name.
The wind was beginning to die down then he noticed the flickering flame.

He told her of his wondrous night and when her doubts began to show,
He opened his pack on the table and unfolded the tattered poncho.
They knew a miracle had happened as it had many years before.
They opened the Bible before them and read the story again, once more.

12/1996 Linda Kirkpatrick

Read more poems by Lariate Laureate Runner UpLinda Kirkpatrick here.

Happy holidays folks!

 

THE BILL

It started one night at the Blue Shoe saloon
The boys were in town ahowlin at the moon

Cowboys ahollerin and raisin holy hell
Seein who could cuss the longest and make the wildest yell

A little old gentleman sat clear at the other end
He was kinda on the quiet side and really didn't fit in

He mumbled something to himself and slowly sipped his beer
If he'd been here any other night, he'd be tremblin with fear

One loud obnoxious cowboy sauntered over his way
And asked him belligerently, if he was out to play

He said my son I'm really tired, and just before he turned
Told that young cowpoke he got to watch the last of the orphanage burn

We put the kids in tents tonight, but it's been mighty cold
Afraid there ain't no money left, that's just what I've been told

Well that young cowboy turned and slowly walked away
And after his next drink decided not to stay

One had to check the herd, the other fix some fence
Some others just went on home, the rest seemed pretty tense

The night ended early and on a sour note
The old man just looked around and reached to grab his coat

The bartender, a powerful man, reached out and took his hand
And handed him a little poke that was wrapped in a bright red band

Said there isn't much, but it's just all I got
If there's more I can do, just don't forget to stop

He wandered on out into the night and found a quiet place
He said, oh Lord it's been hard, but this is tough to face

It was a cold and lonely night, but still he got some sleep
The morning came it was quiet, didn't seem to make a peep

Then all at once all hell broke lose, he scrambled out of bed
Stuck his head out side his flap, and just reached and scratched his head

The cowboys were all around with lumber, nails and beams
Where everyone had gathered from, no one knew it seems

They'd had to ride all through the night to gather up this crew
And every single one of them knew just what there was to do

They laughed and sang and drove those nails, and oh what a cheery bunch
While the men were slingin hammers, the women were fixin lunch

The kids they had quite a time being out and playin free
They were in and out of everything and even up the trees

When everything was said and done there stood a grand old house
With dinner cookin everywhere, even bar-b-que grouse

They gathered all together, and tallied up the bill
The old man was sittin quietly, just yonder up the hill

He took the tally in his hand and stared for quite some time
He had to walk away, so they couldn't see him cryin

For he knew there was no money, to begin to pay this bill
He couldn't even afford the rap, on even just one sill

They gathered again and scratched and rubbed their heads
They himhawed and mumbled some and headed for a shed

It must have been an hour or so, before they came his way
He had no honest clue of really what to say

The note he got was folded so tight, and oh so small
His hands were shakin fiercely as he opened up this ball

He stopped and read it to the end, oh this great big list
It took him a little while, trying to read it through the mist

The young cowboy just told him nothing more and nothing less
All it said was "Paid in full, Merry Christmas, and God Bless"

Written by Larry H. Dudley 11/19/1999

Read about Larry Dudley here.

Happy holidays folks!

 

THE CHRISTMAS STORY

Ever' yar, 'long 'bout now;
long 'bout Chris'mus time
I git to thinkin' 'bout a story
I onct was told in rime.

Seems an Injin feller an' a maiden;
from someplace off they'd a'bin,
was on their way back home
in a storm of snow an' wind.

The maid she was gonna have
a papoose mighty soon,
an' as the storm growed wors'an' wors'
they found theirselves marooned.

The Injin feller lit a far,
though it were hard to do,
but you gotta hand it to them bucks,
they always could come through.

He didn't make it very big;
them injins never would,
cause they was of a hardy breed,
an' could take the cold right good.

But then the maid commenced to moan,
an' the feller thar he figgered,
her time was near to have the child,
an' he'd better  make it bigger.

But as he went to get more wood,
he heard a sound nearby,
an' then the snow it sudden stopped,
an' a big star showed on high.

The sound he heard was three strange men;
Shamen, as it turned out,
and they let on they'd a'been
searching all about.

'Cause they had heard about the maid,
an' about the comin' child.
They had started off at daybreak
an' traveled many miles.

Seemed thar were sumpin right myster'us
about the babe to be,
an' they all had got an omen,
so they had come to see.

Well, then the maid there had the child;
Wenonah, she was called
but as the child was born to her
her life commenced to pall.

Her mother had often warned her;
'listen not to Mudjekeewis,
listen not unto the West-wind
as he woos you with his kisses.'

And now she knew the meaning
that her mother's fateful worries
once had told her as a warning,
as she died there on the prairie.

But before she left the world behind,
in a whisper to them then,
she said the child was 'Hiawatha'
an' to take him to his kin;

To her mother, old Nokomis,
who would nurse him at her breast,
an' raise him up to help them all
to be their very best.

Now, the men began to wonder
how to keep the baby warm,
till the sun would rise up from the East,
an' guide them from their harm.

Then suddenly, they heard a sound,
like the lowing of a cow,
an' looking round, to their surprise,
though they didn't know just how,

They seen a huge and hairy beast;
a white bull bufferlo,
an' in fear they thought their time had come,
but then they come to know,

The animal was a certain part
of all was happening there,
and as they watched, the bufferlo
laid down and offer up it's hair.

Well, they laid the baby on the bull,
into its hair so thick,
and the baby sorta nestled in,
and went to sleep right quick.

As the sun come up next morning,
an' they saw the way to go,
they put the child up on the back
of the big white bufferlo.

When the found the Injin village
where Nokomis was a'livin,'
They told the people standing thar
of what the beast had given.

An' to this very time, they say,
the Injins praise with glow,
the wonder of that fateful birth,
an' the white bull bufferlo.

Now, as you knows, I've been aroun',
an' seen an' heard a lot,
an' some I believe an' some I don't,
but that story always got

To make me think, an' ponder on
all the many things thar be,
that we won't never understan'
unless we want to see.

 

Read Lariate Laureate Runner UpMcCloud's other holiday poem A Small Miracle and read more of his poems here.

 

Happy holidays folks!

 

A COWBOY CHRISTMAS

Sure is cold out here on this hill
That fire jest ain’t big enough;
Spendin’ Christmas Eve out here alone
Sure seems mighty rough.

But somebody had to see after th’ stock
An’ Bud—he’s got him a wife,
An’ Sonny went to check on his ma—
She won’t be long in this life.

An’ Charley now has got all them kids—
Couldn’t miss bringin’ ’em toys.
He’d whittled out whistles an’ tops an’ dolls
Every minute he’d spent with us boys.

So I was the one who got to ride herd—
Didn’t have no fam’ly near,
An’ it’s mighty cold in this line camp,
But, say, ain’t th’ sky awful clear?

There’s stars hangin’ low, almost to touch,
An’ snow sparkles here on th’ ground
Peaceful as can be on this Miracle Night—
A lonely coyote’s th’ only sound.

I remember th’ stories Ma used to read
From th’ Bible, big an’ black,
’Bout how God sent His Son to be born on this night
To point men to th’ right track.

She told me ’bout Mary an’ Joseph
An’ Wise Men an’ shepherds that came—
Like me—’cept I’m keepin’ cattle, not woolies,
But I reckon it’s sorta th’ same.

An’ on that long-ago night, men saw th’ star
An’ followed it to where He lay,
Just like men still look for God
Each an’ ev’ry day.

So sure, it’s cold out here tonight
An’ lonely by th’ fire,
But I’ll jest remember that other time
An’ listen for th’ angel choir.

An’ maybe I’m th’ lucky one,
Spendin’ tonight out here,
’Cause stars hang low in a prairie sky
An’ th’ Child seems mighty near.

So I thank you, Father, for your Gift
An’ for lovin’ us so much—
I’ll look an’ wonder just which Star was
Th’ sign of your heavenly touch.

Francine Roark Robison
Cowboy Poet Laureate of Oklahoma

Read more poems by Lariate Laureate Runner UpFrancine Roark Robison here.

 

Happy holidays folks!

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