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About Townsend Twainhart





The Night Before Christmas Out West

T’was the night before Christmas,
When out on the range,
Not a creature was stirring,
Now isn’t that strange.

The cowboys were wrapped all snug in their racks,
With visions of saddles and some brand new tack.
The trail boss in his bed and the cook in his sack,
Had just settled down for a long winters nap.

When out in the corral there arose such a clatter,
Five cowhands rolled out of their bunks to see what was the matter.
Away to the windows they bounded right quick,
Hoping like heck it might be Saint Nick.

The moon glinted bright on the new-fallen white,
Giving a brightness to all that wasn’t quite right.
When what to their wondering eye’s should appear,
But a red chuck wagon sleigh all loaded with gear.

With an old tender so lively and quick,
We knew in a moment it must be Saint Nick.
More rapid then eagles his horses they came,
As he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!

Now Dakota, now Daisy, now Peaches, and Vasha,
On Chico , on Charlie, on Buttermilk and Sasha!
To up near the porch to the top of the corral!
Now dash away, dash away, dash away all.

In a twinkling we heard by the porch,
The sound of a team of horses and sleigh bells of course.
As I thought in my dreams and was turning around,
Through the bunkhouse door Saint Nickolas came with a bound.

He was all dressed in fur, from his head to his boots,
And his clothes were all dirty with mud and with goop.
A bundle of tack he had flung over his back,
And looked like a farrier just opening his sack.

His eyes how they sparkled! His grin how merry!
His tanned cheeks like a cowhand, his nose like a cherry!
From under his broad brimmed hat his hair seemed to flow,
And the beard on his chin was as white as the snow.

The stump of a cigar he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke circled round his head like a lasso shaped wreath.
He had a broad face and a big round belly,
That shook when he chuckled like a bowl full of jelly.

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old drover,
And I laughed when I saw him, he’d won me over.
A wink of his eye and twist of his Stetson,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread from him.

He spoke not a word but went right to his work,
And hung saddles and bridles on each bunk, and turned with a jerk.
Giving us a nod his presents all spent,
Out the bunkhouse door he went.

He jumped to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like a shot from a pistol.
But as I heard him exclaim before he drove out of sight,
“Merry Christmas to all, and to all of you Cowboys goodnight.”

© 2007, Townsend Twainhart
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


This poem is included with 2008 Christmas poems.


  About Townsend Twainhart:

Townsend Twainhart, a noted California historian, is also published as Chris J. Wright. Townsend has written hundreds of articles for commercial magazines, first published in the International Game Warden in 1985. A few of the other magazines he has written for include, all the "West’s," Old, True and Wild; Horizon; The California Territorial; Blazing Adventures; Senior; Feathertales; LOST; Gold Prospectors, and FATE; and was showcased in Art and Prose Magazine. He was also a columnist for Lost River Star, Capitola Courier and Butte Valley Newspapers. His first book came out in 2005, entitled Bill and the Purple Cow in Oz. For more information on Townsend visit his western site at







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