Special:  Holiday Poems

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K. T. Etling
Rudolph Was an Outlaw
Angels in the Desert

Santa Drives a Cutter
Today He'd Be a Cowboy

Happy holidays folks!

 

Rudolph Was an Outlaw

I drove my pickup to the pens
And waitin' for me there,
A chubby chap with long, white beard
And lots of curly hair.
He smoked a pipe, looked plumb perplexed
When my ol' truck he saw.
"Hey, son, come here, a job fer you:
Can ya tame a wild outlaw?"
"Well, ol' man, that jest depends,"
I drawls, a-bidin' time.
"Is yer hoss mean, or is it spoilt?"
"Plumb ruint! and it's a crime."
Then that ol' man scuffed his black boot
into arena dirt.
"I tell ya, boy, this critter's a mess.
Ya think I need a quirt?"
"Hold on, ol' man, first jest explain
What yer critter's doin' wrong."
"Heck, son, I don't know where to start,
The list is so durned long.
He won't stand still; won't move ahead
Won't travel thru his paces.
Won't giddap, won't never stop,
Won't stand within the traces.
He's stubborn, boy, with a dastardly kick
To flatten any ol' guy.
He's got little pig eyes
and lays real low
'til I just happen by.
Then how that outlaw pounces
With ears flattened 'gainst his head.
I tell ya, son, that Rudolph,
he wants to see me dead!"
"Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer?"
I giggled with a hoot.
"Next thing ya'll say yer Santa Claus,
Ya crazy white-haired coot."
With that the ol' man drew up
To his entire five-foot height.
"I AM, ya impudent cowboy,
With a job on Christmas night.
But if I cain't get ol' Rudolph
To lighten up a mite.
If he don't stop believin'
All that foolish TV hype
That somehow HE'S the greatest
Deer t'ever pull my sleigh,
I'm sorry, son, but Rudolph
I'll have to put away."
"Hold on, ol' man," I says then,
"I gotta few slick tricks
To try on outlaw Rudolph.
First off, ya gotta twitch?"
"Ol Rudolph'd never stand fer
A twitch on that bright nose.
"I tell ya, boy, I'm thinkin' 'bout
A length of rubber hose.
"A spade bit?" I mused loudly,
"Jest to slow him down a tad?"
"Been there, tried that,"
The old man sighed,
"That reindeer's mighty bad."
I shook my head, plumb stymied
By the ol' man's sorry plight.
I had to get right busy
so he could work on Christmas night.
"How 'bout a runnin' W?
Ya know, to make 'em stand?"
I sure 'nuff tried most everythin'"
cried the little white-haired man.
"I guess my problem started
with that braided carriage whip.
I'd pop it o'er the reindeers' heads
to make 'em fly and dip.
But 'twarn't quite long enuff, ya see,
to reach ol' Rudolph's rear.
That's when my troubles started,
Back when Rudy lost his fear."
"Aha!" I says to Santa,
"We'll just lengthen up that whip.
And add a special bonus,
One to make ol' Rudolph flip."
I went into my workshop
with Santa close behind.
"Ho, son," the old man chuckled,
"Ya done got an evil mind."
Then Santa piled into his truck
And quickly drove away.
I plumb forgot his visit
until I heard him say
on Christmas Eve, "Back off, Rudolph!
Or yer gettin' some o' this."
I heard that ol' whip pop out loud
'n heard an awful hiss.
A crackle and a long loud buzz
tore thru the evenin' air.
Smelled somethin' nasty burnin'
That I knew was reindeer hair.
"Hey, ol' man, how are ya?"
I shouted to the sky,
"Boy, yer a trainin' genius,"
Santa said, with twinklin' eye.
"That cattle prod's made Rudolph
the finest deer of all.
When tied onto that bullwhip
plumb keeps Rudolph on the ball.
I tell ya, boy, it's due to you
I'm travelin' fast 'n light,
I'll make my stops all extra quick
this Merry Christmas night."

K.T. Etling

Read more poems by Lariate Laureate Runner UpK. T. Etling here.

Happy holidays folks!

 

Santa Drives a Cutter

'Twas the night before Christmas
And all 'cross the spread,
The cattle was dozin'
Them cows looked plumb dead.
The wind, it was blowin'
From the north purty hard,
I blundered on outside
Along with my pard.
We stood there enjoyin'
a smoke and a chew,
When there came a loud clatter,
a noise we both knew.
"It's bells," laughed my buddy,
ol' Buckin' Horse Rob.
"It ain't," I said, stubborn,
"them's loud jinglebobs."
Then 'cross the moon's face
passed the weirdest durned sight,
Ol' man in a cutter
pulled by four prancin' whites.
He swooped down before us
to land in the yard,
Crawled outta that cutter,
he seemed quite the card.
"Hey, Santa," Rob chuckled,
"thought ya fancied them deer."
"Nah," grumped the ol' fat man,
"done changed out my gear
'n reindeer fer horses.
I'm tellin' ya, boys,
When drivin' them reindeer
I'd git plumb annoyed.
Critters go where they wanna,
ignore 'gee' and 'haw.'
I'd plumb reached my limit
when this team I saw.
They's light on their feet, boys.
With them I'm the boss.
And what's best of all,
They's a Thoroughbred-cross."
He snatched a big bundle,
from outta his cutter.
Tossed Rob and me presents,
then left in aflutter.
We heard him exclaim,
as he soared outta sight,
"A cutter's right fine, boys,
on Christmas Eve night!"

K.T. Etling

Read more poems by Lariate Laureate Runner UpK. T. Etling here.

Happy holidays folks!

 

Today He'd Be a Cowboy

It was a cold and blustery evenin'
When his Ma laid Him down in the hay.
The critters, they warmed Him with each breath they breathed.
'Twas winter out Bethlehem way.

First ones to visit were drovers
Some herdsmen out tendin' their sheep.
They said they was beckoned by angels on high
To pray while the Christ Child did sleep.

I reckon the reason why Jesus
Smiles down on us cowboys out here.
The Boss Man knows firsthand 'bout wind, snow and cold,
He's contended with deserts and fear.

He was just a poor Babe when he came down
to Earth so our souls He might save.
He might've been birthed in a stable,
tho' some folks they insist 'twas a cave.

Don't really matter, I reckon.
He lived and He died fer our sins.
Dealt with cattle, burros 'n ignorance,
Showed folks how to suffer yet win.

And I figger that if our Lord Jesus
ever comes back to visit this Earth,
He'd come back this time as a cowboy,
'cause He knows that our work has great worth.

Fer like Jesus, cowboys toil in all weather.
Tendin' critters, both big 'uns and small,
The same kinds that warmed Him with each breath they breathed.
No wonder He smiles down on us all.

K.T. Etling

 

Read more poems by Lariate Laureate Runner UpK. T. Etling here.

Happy holidays folks!

 

Angels in the Desert

"Christmas Eve!" I complained to the darkness,
as I slogged through deep drifts in the yard.
"And jest look," I caterwauled, loudly.
"Here I'm stuck, many miles from the Lord."

He was born on this night in a stable,
Nigh onta two thousand long years ago.
Should'a been kneelin' in church praisin' Jesus
'stead of toilin' at twenty below.

Such went my thoughts as I slammed shut the gates
and checked in on all of the stock.
Then I glanced at the sky, and saw a bright Star
castin' sheer blindin' light on the rocks.

"Whatin tarnation?" I muttered,
as a shiver raced straight up my spine.
I stood real still and I listened,
as the wind through the pinons did whine.

Then, I swear, I heard soft voices singin'
A pure chant, it was not of this world.
So melodious and sweet, I stopped dead on my feet
as more glorious light now unfurled.

It broke clean and white 'cross the desert.
Illuminatin' each canyon and peak.
And the night birds, they started to twitter
wondrous tunes from their near-frozen beaks.

"This ain't happenin'," I whispered, plumb awestruck.
"I'm a-dreamin'," I rattled away.
So I tossed Buck and Blue some fresh forage,
Saw a Babe there asleep in the hay.

"Wake up," now I cried, in a panic,
while a battle within me did rage.
And, I swear, 'midst the heavenly chorus,
Heard the rustle of wings in the sage.

"It's Your birthday," I prayed up to Heaven.
"Go ahead, do whatever's Your will."
Then that bright shining Star tumbled earthward.
Like a comet streaked over that hill.

And the singin'? Shucks, no longer heard it.
And the sage? Well, it quit rustlin', too.
But a feelin' of peace flooded o'er me,
Peace I'd never before really knew.

So I fell to my knees then to thank Him
Who'd ordered His angels so bright,
To spend Christmas Eve in the desert,
With a cowpoke on this holy night.

K.T. Etling

 

Read more poems by Lariate Laureate Runner UpK. T. Etling here.

 

 

Happy holidays folks!

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