THE STAR AND THE HUMBLE COWBOY
by “Buckshot Dot” (Dee Strickland Johnson)
Lord, you cared so much for the shepherds,
you sent the glad news first to them—
Before the kings and the wise men,
so you might just speak again
To some other humble herdsman
out here on the range abiding—
A brilliant star, an angel choir
proclaiming “Peace! Glad tidings!”
The shepherds were common people
who slept in the fields near their flocks;
Their clothes might be dirty and ragged
and rugged and rough their talk.
So, Lord, I needn’t apologize
for my appearance or my words.
I know you’re right here beside me,
and it seems that I’ve just heard
The shepherds hastening, excited,
Extolling the star they had seen,
A baby born in a manger;
Not to some great king and queen,
But to people who do the menial tasks
That housewives and carpenters do,
And farmers and desk clerks and waitresses—
Just people like me and you.
But famous rich men brought presents,
Which should prove what I know to be true—
Christ came for shepherds and wise men
And kings and cowboys too.
© 1996, Dee Strickland Johnson (“Buckshot Dot”)
This poem should not be resposted or reprinted without permission.
We’re celebrating the 20th annual Christmas at the BAR-D.
Popular poet, musician, and artist Dee Strickland Johnson grew up on Arizona’s Navajo and Hualapai (Walapai) Indian reservations, an Idaho farm, and at Petrified Forest National Monument. She and husband John ranched in the Arkansas Ozarks in the 1970s, where the entire family performed regularly at the Ozark Folk Center. Today she and John live in Arizona.
Her drawing depicts her son, Tim Johnson. Dee comments, “Tim posed for that scratch board picture of the campfire cowboy. I had him standing there with his back to me for quite some time—took a while to get those rivets on the Levi’s.”
Sadly, Tim Johnson died November 11, 2019. He was seriously injured in an accident in 2002 after leaving a gathering where his mother was appearing. Find an obituary and more elsewhere on this blog.
This image was also the subject of a 2007 Art Spur, which also includes Buckshot Dot’s poem, “A Cowboy’s Christmas Eve.”
Buckshot Dot has poetry and music CDs and books of poetry and books about Arizona history and more at buckshotdot.com.
(Please respect copyright. You can share this poem and image with this post, but for other uses, request permission.)