Cowboy Poetry and Music and More at the BAR-D Ranch

About Steve Draper



The Night Rider

T’was the night before Christmas, least I thought it was,
Give or take I reckon a day.
When yer roundin’ up cows, don’t matter no hows,
Lest ye be lookin’ to get pay.

The snow had stopped fallin’, cattle halted their bawlin’
The herd braced up against the cold.
The clouds drifted on by, a full moon in the sky,
While the stars were returning so bold.

A choir of coyotes, were hittin’ the high notes,
The chill in the air fueled the howl.
A soloist off stage, hooted o’er the sage,
The alto refrain of an owl.

A slight winter breeze, whistled through some trees,
The orchestra’s wind instrument.
The prairie serenade, now being played,
A tune of Christmases long spent.

I was still in saddle, with the cold doing battle,
When my conjurin’ up took center stage.
I could see Ma! And there was my Pa!
And me, at a much younger age.

Cuttin’ down a tree, us trimmin’ with glee,
I could smell Ma’s home cookin’ in the air.
There was Aunt Emma, embarrassed by the dilemma,
Of Uncle Ralph dancin’ with a fiddle back chair.

I could see ‘em all, they were havin’ a ball,
Then into the night they did fade.
Replaced by stranger, views of a manger,
New images began to cascade.

In a bed of hay, a new born baby lay,
Surrounded by wranglers and trail hands.
Oh yes, there were more, some rich but most poor,
Many came from far away rangelands.

Three wise men within, this crude makeshift inn,
Brought frankincense, gold and myrrh.
One lone night rider, knelt down beside her,
And offered the mother his spurs.

He said; “Life’s a curmudgeon, He’ll need these for nudgin’,
For all them that won’t move on their own.
Some just won’t listen, won’t know what they're missin’,
Many more will be just head strong prone.

These spurs can’t compare, no way on no dare,
To the gift He’ ll be offerin’ me.
He’ll die for us, this things a must,
Our king and Savior He’ll be.

No nail forged by men, could hold Him there then,
But love, will secure Him to a cross.
He’ll be by our side, through life, as we ride,
Follow Him or all will be lost.”


Snow began to drift, pondering the gift,
I’d envisioned ‘neath that Bethlehem star.
My head I did bow, and solemnly vowed,
To add more love to my repertoire.

© 2011, Steve Draper
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's permission.


This poem is a part of Christmas at the BAR-D, 2011



Plump Prairie Chicken

‘Twas a cold winter day, I was lookin’ fer strays
And the snow had started to stickin’.
Perched up in a tree, peerin’ back down at me,
I spied this plump prairie chicken.

Now it’d been couple a days, I’d dare say
Since I’d had a fairly good meal.
Suckin’ hard tack, from an empty pack;
The knots in my belly were startin’ to squeal.

The clasp of the cold was startin’ to scold,
“ ‘Taint right for a man to go on not eatin’ this way.”
If my countin’s right, in this falln’ Fahrenheit,
I believed it near to be Thanksgivin’ Day.

Well I took a steady aim, crack shot’s my claim,
Then I fired off powder and round.
That plump prairie poult, was a startin’ to molt,
As it went fallin’ hard to the ground.

Through smoke and feather, even the weather
I saw at the base of that gnarly, old tree,
Now it seems absurd, but lock jawed on my bird,
Was a coyote even skinnier than me!

He wasted no time, completin’ his crime.
Faster ’n I could draw a bead on that beast,
He yipped out a scoff, and went high tailin’ off,
With my Thanksgivin’ Day feast.

The wind was a howlin’, my guts were a growlin’
And darkness was on its way.
That dog stole my dinner; he turned out the winner,
On that cold ,wintery day.

It raised my ire, hotter than a Ferrier’s fire,
When that mutt absconded with my bird.
Rarely do I curse, ‘tis no way to converse,
But I reckon I’d uttered a discouragin’ word.

Not to be dismayed;
I boiled up some soup, from a piece of my boot,
Even had a piece of it fried,
While that coyote slept tight, all through the night,
With that plump prairie chicken inside.

For some thoughts spent, I’ll surely repent;
Tonight I’ll give thanks on bended knee.
Seems it’d be rude, displayin’ no gratitude,
For what the good Lord has given to me.

Ain’t no big rigmarole, just me and my soul,
And tomorrow the sun’ll rise up in the East.
From complainin’ I’ll abstain, and tonight’s hunger pains,
Will make sweet, another day's feast.

© 2012, Steve Draper
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's permission.

Steve comments, "'Plump Prairie Chicken' was the first cowboy poem that I wrote. Our church had asked me to befriend a family in our area and I was told that one thing they enjoyed was cowboy poetry.....I am a believer that inspiration can relieve consternation."


  About Steve Draper
provided 2011

I live in Highland, Utah, in the shadows of Mt. Timpanogas and the Wasatch mountains. A divorced man; I have 6 children, 17 grandchildren, 4 Heeler dogs, 2 paint horses and wonder daily where all the time goes to keep up with my little herd.

I am a proud, disabled Viet Nam Veteran. I enjoy oil painting, wood carving , hunting and fishing.

I have been penning poems for the better part of 30 years. Most of my ramblings reside in shoe boxes. I have always said that I don’t write poetry, I am just blessed to be the scribe. A day dreamer; my poems just hit me up the side of the head and I write them down.

Along the way, If I have forced some lip to a smile or an eye to well up, perhaps even on just one person, then I have exceeded my expectations of just humoring myself with the belief that my poetry actually touches people.

I have spent time before the open mics at cowboy gatherings in Elko, Heber, Lehi, Salt Lake and elsewhere.



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