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Happy holidays folks!


A Cowboy's Christmas Prayer

I ain't much good at prayin',
   and You may not know me, Lord --
For I ain't much seen in churches,
   where they preach Thy Holy Word.
But you may have observed me 
   out here on the lonely plains,
A-lookin' after cattle, 
   feelin' thankful when it rains.

Admirin' Thy great handiwork.
   the miracle of the grass,
Aware of Thy kind Spirit,
   in the way it comes to pass 
That hired men on horseback
   and the livestock that we tend 
Can look up at the stars at night,
   and know we've got a Friend.

So here's ol' Christmas comin' on,
   remindin' us again
Of Him whose coming brought good will
   into the hearts of men.
A cowboy ain't a preacher, Lord,
   but if You'll hear my prayer,
I'll ask as good as we have got 
   for all men everywhere.

Don't let no hearts be bitter, Lord.
   Don't let no child be cold.
Make easy the beds for them that's sick
   and them that's weak and old.
Let kindness bless the trail we ride,
   no matter what we're after,
And sorter keep us on Your side,
   in tears as well as laughter.

I've seen ol' cows a-starvin' -
   and it ain't no happy sight;
Please don't leave no one hungry, Lord,
   on Thy Good Christmas Night --
No man, no child, no woman,
   and no critter on four feet
I'll do my doggone best 
   to help you find 'em chuck to eat.

I'm just a sinful cowpoke, Lord --
   ain't got no business prayin'
But still I hope you'll ketch a word
   or two, of what I'm sayin':
We speak of Merry Christmas, Lord--
   I reckon You'll agree --

There ain't no Merry Christmas
   for nobody that ain't free!
So one thing more I ask You, 
   Lord: just help us what You can
To save some seeds of freedom 
   for the future Sons of Man!

S. Omar Barker; reprinted with permission from Cowboy Miner Productions

Our S. Omar Barker poems are reprinted with the kind permission of Cowboy Miner Productions, publishers of the finest in classic and modern Cowboy Poetry.  This poem is from their book Classic Rhymes by S. Omar Barker

Click to view at   

Happy holidays folks!


The Gate Cut

Mr. Avery said this morning we could all have Christmas off,
  In fact, knock off at noon on Christmas Eve.
That tickled all the boys with families here in Silver City,
  but there's no time for me to drive to Tennessee.
My family has gotten used to me not being 'round the tree
  and I've not been to church in twenty years,
'Cept for Billy Meecham's wedding and to bury Grandpa Tom,
  just the memory of it still brings me to tears.

So I feel a little distant from the whole religious thing
  As I put my saddle on this fleabit gray,
And if some one ask, "what's this Christmas all about?"
  I'm not sure I'd know exactly what to say.
So I decided to do some thinking while puttin' out some salt,
  'bout how the Christ Child's birthday should fit in with me,
And what I should be doin' when Christmas finally comes,
  and I'm a long way from my family's Christmas tree.

It seems the celebration should be about the Man himself,
  and the turkey and the tree are just for trim.
Cause what matters is the feeling a believer's got in his heart
  That wouldn't be there if it weren't for him.
So maybe if I get my mind right, I can still have me some Christmas
 Just by thinkin' on the things that matter most.
"bout how he was born and lived and died, and everything he said,
  About the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost.

If I close my eyes I can almost see my family,
  as they bow their heads to say the Christmas prayer.
And I'll bet the first out of Mama's mouth is how she's wishin'
  That her saddle tramp son could just be there.
Tonight I'll pull that Bible out she gave me, when I went off to the Army,
  And in the campfire light I'll try to read His Word,
And hope this worthless cowboy has a chance to make the Gate cut,
  When old Gabriel comes to gather in the herd.

2002, Michael Henley


Read more of Michael Henley's poetry here.

Michael is:   

Featured in "The Big Roundup," an anthology of the best of

Happy holidays folks!


Christmas in the Scrub Oaks

With collar turned up against the cold
my hat screwed down real tight,
I set out across the pasture
'neath winter's bright moon light.

We had been weeks upon the trail
I didn't know the day,
one day is like another
when you ride for cowboy's pay.

I had to find a missing pair
a mother and her son
or Jack Frost's grip would claim their lives
before the morning sun!

I spied them in the scrub oaks
their backs turned towards the trees,
her eyes looked soft and loving,
her calf nursed between her knees.

And strangely came a gentle breeze
I saw angels circling to and fro.
They beckoned me to follow them,
eastward we did go!

Lacy was my buckskin mare
her gait was smooth and slow,
my jingle bobs rang out a tune
that carried across the snow.

I gazed up to the heavens
there shone a brilliant star.
We followed it through most the night,
to a little town so far.

I saw a big commotion
out on the edge of town.
We found a little stable with
some wranglers gathered round

I lit down from my Lacy
and pushed into the crowd.
In the manger wrapped in flour sacks
I saw a baby bedded down.

His parents seemed quite humble;
"Sharecroppers" I would bet.
They had traveled far to come to town
and pay the taxman's debt.

Though they were tired and weary
they couldn't find a bed.
When they could go no further,
they came upon this shed.

In that barn sometime that night
by candlelight so dim
a babe was born to man and wife
the son of GOD  in Bethlehem

Beside them was a burro
in the corner a cow or two.
Just then is when it hit me,
it was the same pair that I knew.

Three ranchers came up to babe
their names I wasn't told.
They must have come from wealthy spreads
their gifts were laced with gold!

Then softly I heard a moving song,
those angels began to sing.
Their voices grew and filled the air
singing GLORY TO THE KING!!!

They said his name was Jesus.
Our souls was he to save!
To die for us upon a cross
then rise up from the grave

I went outside to clear my head
I knelt down by my mount.
The angels circled over me
Far too many for me to count!

I wondered what that I might have;
that I could freely give
to a baby sent to pay for me
so that eternal I could live!

I took the wild rag from my neck,
of silk it had been spun,
a special gift from my dear Jan
before this drive begun.

I am sure it was quite costly
but then also was my sin!
I wrapped it round my savior
to soothe his precious skin.

Babe Jesus looked into my eyes,
Mary smiled so sweet.
Joseph took me by my hand
and helped me to my feet.

So Lace and I began to ride,
my hat held in my hands.
I shared this tale with all we met
across the desert sands.

Later I got down on my knees,
Lacy nuzzled at my side.
I bowed my head in humble prayer
and thanked GOD for that ride!

Then just as when it started
I felt a gentle breeze.
I woke up to find me kneeling
in that grove of scrub oak trees.

I rounded up the cattle
and as we began to leave
'neath that star so bright, I realized
this night was Christmas Eve!

2003, Carl Condray

Read more of Carl Condray's poetry here.

Happy holidays folks!

Prayer Comes Easy in a Barn

When sunlight bathes the winter morn,
All creation is reborn.
The horses watered, fed and warm,
Prayer comes easy in a barn.

When Mary's babe his eyes did open,
He saw the sheep, the goats, and oxen.
In a feeder filled with fresh cut hay,
He first began His earthly stay.

It was cold without, but the warmth within,
Came from the love of his Next-of-kin.
He was not kept from the noble beast;
Nor from the shuffle of its cloven feet.

Simple folk there went and in awe they stood,
Unbathed, unschooled, unread, but good.
To welcome in this newborn king,
Amid the livestock and the steam.

The sounds and smells of earthy creatures
Caressed the child as gentle fingers.
Mary his mother gave birth that day,
To a shepherd for all who've lost their way.

It all began in a humble barn,
With the animals, our King was born.
There's something special that I find,
With the hay and beasts - a peace of mind.

When sunlight bathes the winter morn,
All creation is reborn.
The horses watered, fed and warm,
Prayer comes easy in a barn.

2003, Paul R. Kern


Paul, Kathie, their registered Palomino Aspen

Read more of Paul Kern's poetry here.


Happy holidays folks!

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