Santa Shoer
© 2019, illustration for “Santa Must Be a Shoer” by Ben Crane from Andy Nelson’s forthcoming book, Culling the Herd: Poems That Made the Cut (January, 2020)

by Andy Nelson

They say he’s a jolly ol’ elf,
you’ll never find one truer;
But the way I see it myself,
Santa must be a shoer.

Someone’s got to trim the reindeer,
and sharp-shoe those little hoofs;
As they dash through the wild frontier,
and land on ice-covered roofs.

So, to me it makes perfect sense,
that Santa nails on the shoes;
I present this as evidence,
backed up with various clues.

He’s dressed in fur from head to foot,
cause he’s a hairy feller;
He’s covered all over with soot,
like a blacksmith shop dweller.

The sound you hear ain’t jingling bells,
it’s his anvil that’s ringing;
A sound more fine than chorus swells,
or herald angels singing.

A beard as white as frosted peaks,
with a pipe stump stuck in place;
Merry dimples and rosie cheeks,
but not the ones on his face.

Bending plagues this reindeer drover,
rear-end cleavage stripes his back;
Like a peddler bending over,
and opening up his pack.

When he squats down to put out toys,
his belly rests on his thighs;
A comfy stance for shoeing boys,
of typical shape and size.

Don’t know ’bout his droll little lips,
all drawn up into a bow;
Nor why his pants sag on his hips,
but this I really do know

It’s a short season spreading cheer,
he works hard to get through ‘er;
But what’s he do the rest the year?
Santa MUST be a shoer.

© 2013, Andy Nelson
This poem should not be reprinted or reposted without permission

Award-winning poet, popular emcee, and co-host of  Clear Out West radio (C.O.W.) with his brother Jim,  Andy Nelson comes from a family of farriers. His award-winning book, Ridin’ with Jim, includes his poems and stories as well as stories about and by his farrier father. Back in 2008 in a Picture the West at, Andy sent this photo, which represents three generations of farriers.


At the time, he wrote:

 On the left is my Dad’s shoeing apron (chaps) with one of his many hoof knives in the pocket, my shoeing apron is in the center with one of my hoof knives in the pocket and on the right is the shoeing apron my son Dylan asked for on his 17th birthday…with a new hoof knife in the pocket. On the shoeing apron in the middle (mine), you can see some writing below the brand. Dad gave me the apron for my birthday, burned the brand on it and wrote the brand’s history beneath it…

See the interesting close-up photo of the brand history in the Picture the West entry here.

Andy Nelson recites his poem on The BAR-D Roundup: Volume 8, a double CD of modern and classic Christmas cowboy poetry from It’s a great gift; read about it and find order info at The poem is also on his How I Taught Bruno a Lesson CD.

Listen to this poem featured this week on Totsie Slover’s “Real West from the Old West” popular radio show.

Find Andy Nelson at many events, including at the Lone Star Cowboy Gathering  in Alpine, Texas, February 21-22, 2020. The lineup includes Mike Blakely, Dale Burson, Craig Carter, Allan Chapman & Rodeo Kate, Doug Figgs, Jack George, Pipp Gillette, Jeff Gore, Amy Hale Steiger, Andy Hedges, Randy Huston, Jim Jones, Jill Jones, Jarle Kvale, Deanna McCall, Terry Nash, Andy Nelson, Joel Nelson, Rodney Nelson, Gary Prescott, Jean Prescott, Mike Querner, Vess Quinlan, Brigid & Johnny Reedy, Randy Rieman, Jake Riley, Trinity Seely, R.P. Smith, Jay Snider, Red Steagall, Gail Steiger, Michael Stevens, Rod Taylor, The Cowboy Way —Jim Jones, Doug Figgs and Mariam Funke, Andy Wilkinson, and Jim Wilson. Visit for more information.

Andy’s new book, Culling the Herd: Poems That Made the Cut, will be available January 1, 2020 at and by email, The book is illustrated by popular cowboy cartoonist Ben Crane and the image included at the top of the page was created for “Santa Must Be a Shoer.”

Find more about Andy Nelson, his schedule, his poetry, books, and recordings at and listen to the always entertaining Clear Out West (C.O.W.) radio at

(You can share this poem and photos with this post, but any other uses require permission.)



by Andy Nelson

Two brothers sat on a porch just talking,
About the way it used to be;
They debated the good old days while rocking,
But they never seemed to agree.

Seems each of them recalled it differently,
From the way the other one did;
Many years had passed, and not very gently,
From the time that each was a kid.

Bro 1: “Do you remember the pond in the forty,
Where we would skinny dip all day;
Boy, those were the days when a kid was set free,
We’d just pass the hours away.”

Bro 2: “But don’t you remember the stinging nettle,
That adorned our favorite pool;
When you fell, it really tested your mettle,
You couldn’t even walk to school.”

Bro 1: “What about the clod fights in the garden spot,
We’d spend hours pelting each other;
Ah, those were the days that just cannot be bought,
Quality time with your brother.”

Bro 2: “Don’t you remember when I picked up a rock,
And chucked it instead of a clod;
It knocked you out cold and it left a nice pock,
And I swear you nearly saw God.”

Bro 1: “How about BB gun trips to the old dump,
We’d shoot up beer bottles and cans;
Now those were the days, we’d reload by the stump,
Gunfighting those old pots and pans.

Bro 2: “But don’t you remember that rusty old nail,
You stuck though the sole of your boot;
And the tetanus shots that made you turn pale,
Oh ya, that was really a hoot.”

Bro 1: “But you have to admit the hours we spent
horseback was the time of our lives;
Oh, those were the days, all the places we went,
Pretending to be on the drives.”

Bro 2: “Ya, but don’t you recall when that little paint,
Dusted you off under a tree;
You broke your arm in three places, and that ain’t
counting what he did to your knee.”

Bro 1: “Well, you make it sound like our childhood just sucked,
That nothing we did was of worth;
That all our dogs bit and every horse bucked,
And did since the day of our birth.”

Bro 2: “That’s not what I’m saying, don’t make it sound bad,
Our childhood went out in a blaze;
I enjoyed each and ev’ry wreck that you had,
I’m telling you, those were the days!”

© 2019, Andy Nelson
This poem should not be reposted or reprinted without the author’s permission

Pinedale, Wyoming’s Andy Nelson is a second-generation farrier, cowboy poet, emcee, humorist, rodeo announcer, and co-host (with his brother Jim) of the popular syndicated Clear Out West (C.O.W.) radio show. Listen to the current and past shows here.

This poem comes from his own life, and Andy comments, “We had the best childhood ever, the kind that everyone dreams of. It is a wonder that we made it to adulthood in one piece… but that doesn’t mean we grew up! One thing is for sure and for certain though, big brother Jim is not just my brother, he is my hero and my best friend.”

Andy Nelson’s most recent CD is Uncle Charlie and the Squeeze Chute of Death. Find more about it and an included poem in a brief review here. Andy is at work on a new collection of his poems, due out at the end of the year.

Andy keeps a busy schedule and one place he’s headed is Utah’s 25th annual Heber Valley Cowboy Music & Poetry Gathering, October 23-27, 2019. The popular five-day event has 33 shows on 8 stages with additional attractions, exhibits, and vendors.

There he will join poets Waddie Mitchell, R.P. Smith, Yvonne Hollenbeck, Jeff Carson, Jake Riley, and Rolf Flake. Featured musicians are Diamond Rio, Michael Martin Murphey, Bar J Wranglers, Billy Dean, Andy Griggs, Rory Feek, John Wayne Schulz, Brenn Hill, Sourdough Slim, Carin Mari, Erica Hansen, High Country Cowboys, Molly in the Mineshaft, Many Strings, The Cowboy Way, Stacy Despain, Belinda Gail, Hank Cramer, Charley Jenkins Band, Carter Junction, Flyover Town, In Cahoots, and the Heber Valley Orchestra.


This year’s impressive poster for the Heber Valley Cowboy Music & Poetry Gathering is by Steve Devenyns.

Find Andy Nelson’s complete schedule and more at

Pictured: Andy and Jim Nelson.

(Please respect copyright. You can share this poem and photo with this post, but for other uses, request permission.)

We’ll be on a break from September 6-20,
but there will be regularly scheduled posts.



by Andy Nelson

Daron showed up at the local coffee shop,
Like he does on Sunday mornings;
But this time looking like a lion tamer,
Who had failed to heed the warnings.

His forearms and fingers were scraped, scratched, and scabbed,
Like he had choked a weed-eater;
He confessed he felt as if he had fallen,
Into a giant egg-beater.

The story shared was not a glamorous one,
Like fighting a moose with a bat;
Turns out that Daron had a wrestling match,
With his daughter’s 4-H show cat.

Riley grew bored of the regular projects,
The kind that were raised on the range;
So, she asked her dad if this year she could take,
One of their barn cats for a change.

Anxious to teach her the value of livestock,
Daron opted to acquiesce;
Ol’ Fluffball would be her 4-H show kitty,
And he cursed the day he said yes.

Fluff was as homely as a two-track dirt road,
For a barn cat, he was quite tame;
He looked like he crossed with an angora goat,
And built on a jackrabbit’s frame.

But after a little of Mama’s shampoo,
And some Aqua-Velva for smell;
Fluff was ready for the county fair show ring,
Daron for a foray in Hell.

The encounter started quite innocently,
Until Fluff succumbed to the shakes,
It went downhill like a Radio Flyer,
Full of fat kids, without any brakes.

Poor ol’ Fluffball was a heckuva mouser,
But he had never been to town;
So, when prodded by feline arbitrators,
That is when the fracas went down.

Fluff squirmed like a bobcat in a gunny sack,
Daron leapt to save his daughter;
Logic was obliterated by instincts,
He dove head-long in the slaughter.

Certain he could “cowboy” his way through this,
He grabbed Fluff by the scruff of the neck;
While most cats go limp, Fluffball went ballistic,
Spawning a spectacular wreck.

It looked like he clutched a runaway grinder,
Armed with razor-sharp teeth and claws;
As he fought to get a grip with his off hand,
He was distracted by applause.

A crowd had gathered to witness the showdown,
They thought someone was boxing a bear;
One guy screamed, “This is the best entertainment
we have ever had at the fair!”

While agreeing to sign autographs after,
Daron plunged back into the bout;
Applying a feline MMA choke hold,
Hoping the kitty would tap out.

Fluff finally agreed to forfeit the match,
After Daron ran out of blood;
Light headed and woozy, they slunk to the truck,
And rolled down the lane in the mud.

The ride home was uneventful and quiet,
Unlike the preceding cat show;
Fluffball is in counseling and therapy,
And Daron is healing up slow.

Everything’s back to normal on the home place,
Next time, Riley’s taking a steer;
But the fair board is now struggling to find,
A more thrilling act for next year.

© 2019, Andy Nelson
This poem should not be re-posted or reprinted without permission.

Pinedale, Wyoming’s Andy Nelson is a second-generation farrier, cowboy poet, emcee, humorist, rodeo announcer, and co-host, with his brother Jim, of the popular syndicated Clear Out West (C.O.W.) radio show.

This poem was inspired by a story told by Wyoming cowboy and songwriter Daron Little. When we asked about the poem, Daron Little replied, “The events of said poem truly happened.”

Andy Nelson’s recent CD is Uncle Charlie and the Squeeze Chute of Death. He’s at work on a book of poems. At, find more about him and his other books and CDs and see his schedule–which includes the 7th Annual C.O.W. Cruise, June 16-27, 2019, to Alaska, with the special added attraction of Dave Stamey.

See the C.O.W. radio archives and tune in at The show is now available by podcast.

As Daron Little’s web site bio tells, he “…cowboys for a living on the TA Ranch north of Saratoga Wyoming…Daron lives in a house full of women with his wife and three daughters, which is probably poetic justice.”

Check out Daron Little’s new album, Support Your Local Cowpuncher, and find much more about him and his music at

Photo courtesy of Daron Little, by Jan Sewell.

(Please respect copyright. You can share this poem and photo with this post, but for other uses, request permission.)



by Andy Nelson

The morning weather matches my demeanor,
Somewhat cloudy and overcast;
I am rattling down the old homestead lane,
For what is sure to be my last.

I do not remember the number of times,
I traveled this road in my youth;
But to say that this ranch is a part of my life,
Sure wouldn’t be stretching the truth.

All the songs mention that the seasons will change,
Then spring will arrive and unpack;
But unlike the dead leaves that tumble from trees,
This outfit will never grow back.

A century and a quarter of hard work,
Now divided goes up for sale;
I am not pointing fingers nor casting stones,
But for me, it’s just the last nail.

I swallow a lump and remember ol’ Buck,
The mount that was cut out for me;
An old cow moose put us both in the river,
She jumped us from out of the trees.

The pole gate that I built still swings back and forth,
Though it looks a little worse for wear;
It creaks out some stories, that now are all gone,
But none the less, it is still there.

I unload big Jed, who now is my go-to,
And make one last circle with him;
We ride the cottonwoods and gather the pairs,
And bring them down off of the rim.

It’s almost like they know this is the end,
Through the last gate, then to the pen;
They make one last break, but we get them turned in,
Acquiescing the will of men.

Sorting cows from calves, then the heifers from steers,
Ready to load young and old ones;
In defiance, one wild cow clears the top rail,
I can’t help but smile as she runs.

But as the stock trucks back to the loading chute,
Reality pierces my heart;
A rumbling of hooves as the trailer door slams,
The oration tears me apart.

I follow horseback as the trucks drive away,
This is the end of a battle;
The vestige and lore of the old Luman ranch,
Left with the last of the cattle.

© 2018, Andy Nelson, used with permission
This poem should not be reposted or reprinted without permission

Pinedale, Wyoming’s Andy Nelson is a second-generation farrier, cowboy poet, emcee, humorist, rodeo announcer, and co-host (with his brother Jim) of the popular syndicated Clear Out West (C.O.W.) radio show.

Andy shared this poem and photo and told us, “I worked this ranch the summer of ’84. The widow and her son that I worked for are long gone and the ranch has been sold. It is a melancholy offering and was a hard one to write. The pole gate I talk about can be seen in the pic of us following the trucks out of the yard.”


Find Andy later this week at the Heber Valley Cowboy Music and Poetry Gathering (Heber City, Utah, October 24-28).

He will be joining poets Waddie Mitchell, Randy Rieman, Jeff Carson, Doris Daley, Jo Kirkwood, and Al Doc Mehl and musicians John Anderson, Suzy Bogguss, Bar J Wranglers, Max T. Barnes, Dave Stamey, Hot Club of Cowtown, Brenn Hill, Jack Hannah, Ed Peekeekoot, Ryan Fritz, Trinity Seely, Charley Jenkins Band, Dyer Highway, High Country Cowboys, Gary McMahan, Stacy Despain, Nancy Elliott, Randy Huston, Stewart MacDougall, Many Strings, Kenny Hall, Kristen J. Lloyd, In Cahoots, and the Heber Valley Orchestra.

Andy Nelson’s latest CD is Uncle Charlie and the Squeeze Chute of Death. Find more about it in a brief review along with a poem from the CD in a recent post on this blog.

Find Andy Nelson’s complete schedule, CDs and books, and more at

(Please respect copyright. You can share this poem and photo with this post, but for other uses, request permission.)



by Andy Nelson

The day that the dogs took over the ranch,
Was a day just like the others;
They figured they had all the help they needed,
With all their sisters and brothers.

So, they fired the people and sent them away,
And divvied the chores between dogs;
Each of them having at least some expertise,
In caring for cattle and hogs.

The Border Collie was voted the foreman,
The Aussie was next in command;
And barked out orders to the rest of the pack,
“Oy, muster the doggies at hand.”

“Aye, get off yer bahoochies,” snapped a Sheltie,
The Kelpie yelped, “Good on ya, mate;
No one could understand the Catahoula,
As he sat there blocking the gate.

An English sheep dog woofed, “I’ll watch the woolies,”
“For this purpose, I’ve been tutored;”
The Heeler howled, “I’ll take care of the Sheilas,”
Even though he had been neutered.

And they did just fine for a while on the ranch,
Everything seemed hunky dory;
Til one day a snotty scotty terrier,
Marked another’s territory.

Then they all began to bark more and wag less,
And it came to a fever pitch;
When the Dachshund was fired the day after he called
the boss’s sister a bitch.

The Pyrenees chased off the coyote cousins,
For eating some of the chickens;
The Labradoodle phoned the SPCA;
From there the plot only thickens.

Cuz someone made fun of the Shih Tzu’s haircut,
And called him a mop with four feet;
Then they all had to take some workplace training,
And learn how to be more discreet.

It all fell apart when the Chihuahua got stuck,
Trying to clear a blocked rumen;
“Ah bloody hell,” snapped an indigent Corgi,
“We’re in dire need of a human.”

The Collie growled, “Let’s not be too hasty chaps,
I’m not sure that we need those bums;
I think a chimpanzee would do in a pinch,
All we really need are some thumbs.”

© 2018, Andy Nelson, used with permission
This poem should not be reposted or reprinted without permission

Pinedale, Wyoming’s Andy Nelson is a second-generation farrier, cowboy poet, emcee, humorist, rodeo announcer, and co-host (with his brother Jim) of the popular syndicated Clear Out West (C.O.W.) radio show.

“When the Dogs Took Over the Ranch is on new CD, Uncle Charlie and the Squeeze Chute of Death. Find more about it in a brief review along with another poem from the CD, “You Can Learn a Lot from a Cowboy,” in a recent post here.

This photo of Stubby is courtesy of Andy Nelson.

This weekend Andy Nelson is at the Western Legends Roundup in Kanab, Utah, along with Jared Rogerson, The Bellamy Brothers, and much more. Sam DeLeeuw oversees cowboy poetry at The Barn at the Parry Lodge.

See Andy next at the 27th annual Old West Days Nebraska Cowboy Poetry Gathering, September 27-30, 2018 in Valentine, Nebraska. He is a featured performer, joining Jean and Gary Prescott, Campfire Concerto with Paul Larson, Chuck Larsen, and Sam Noble.

Find Andy Nelson’s complete schedule and more at

(Please respect copyright. You can share this poem and photo with this post, but for other uses, request permission.)



photo by Stuart Johnson

by Andy Nelson

“Now boarding flight 63 to Denver,”
Is what the flight attendant said;
I grabbed my duffle, dumped out my coffee,
Hoping to be one place ahead.

But then she said,
“Only members of the Pompous and Privileged Club first;”
Then they loaded the first-class passengers,
It turns out, that wasn’t the worst.

They were loading the plane from front to back,
Which assures the thing I always dread;
The guy with the “too-large-to-carry-on,”
Smacks everyone else in the head.

As I walked by whacking all that I passed,
I thought, common ev’ryday folk
could learn a few things from the western world,
Especially from a cowpoke.

Stock-haulers know how to load up a rig,
They do it from nose, back to the door;
The other way, you can’t get them all in,
I don’t need to say anymore.

A packer can help you pack for your trip,
And do it with nary a glitch;
Pack lean and light and then balance your load,
Tie it with a nice diamond hitch.

Need a mani-pedi before you go?
A farrier’s the guy to pick;
He’ll only twitch you if you don’t behave,
And won’t even get in the quick.

A rawhide braider is right for the job,
With pigtails for the well-traveled;
He will braid them up most perfect and tight,
And they’ll never come unraveled.

If turbulence scares or makes you get sick,
Bronc riders can help you lick that;
A riggin, some rosin, and a thick leather glove,
Will keep you right where you’re sat.

Cowboy advice ain’t just for traveling,
It helps with a wide range of chores;
Some Utah hobbles to ground tie your horse,
Can be used to hold up your drawers.

Need bodywork on a dent in your car?
Let a rancher address your claim;
A couple of whacks with his sledge hammer,
And then both sides will look the same.

Can’t back a truck and a trailer up straight?
A teamster can show how it’s done;
Need someone to give your Shih Tzu a shave?
A sheep shearer’s prob’ly the one.

A blacksmith can save on your home decor,
With some horse shoe hangers and art;
Need assistance with landscaping duties?
A goatherd could give a head start.

There’s lots to be learned from cowboys each day,
And plenty of things to discuss;
And if you make him shop or drive downtown,
He’ll sure as heck teach you to cuss.

A little common sense sure goes a long way,
you might as well take our advice;
Load the dang plane from the back to the front,
and maybe then lower the price.

© 2018, Andy Nelson
This poem should not be reposted or reprinted without permission

Pinedale, Wyoming’s Andy Nelson is a second-generation farrier, cowboy poet, emcee, humorist, rodeo announcer, and co-host (with his brother Jim) of the popular syndicated Clear Out West (C.O.W.) radio show.


His new CD, Uncle Charlie and the Squeeze Chute of Death, rich and varied, has bulls, dogs, geezers, horses, and things that nearly defy description (for example, the title poem, so well illustrated by top cowboy cartoonist Ben Crane on the CD’s cover). Andy can be funny, philosophical, serious, complex, and more than a bit wild. There are several tracks that also feature cowboy singer and songwriter Brenn Hill, and the experience of these two friends, who often perform together, comes through in excellent collaborations.

A couple of heartfelt tear-jerkers (“Waiting” and “The Cowboy I Never Knew”) are included. In a fine rendition of the late Don Kennington’s “The Last Nail,” Andy Nelson’s love and respect for his mentor and friend reflects the deep relationship of the two. Don Kennington would be proud.

A hidden track at the end, starring Jim Nelson, Andy’s brother and radio co-host, is as wonderfully wacky as he is. Let’s say he puts the O! in outrageous.

Beneath the hilarity, the whole project is produced with a care and professionalism that’s a great model for others.

Find the CD at Andy Nelson’s site (and check out some of Ben Crane’s other covers on earlier cds). also includes Andy Nelson’s performance schedule and more.

This coming weekend, find Andy and Brenn Hill at a National Day of the Cowboy Preserve event in Prairie City, Oregon, on July 28 organized by cowboy, author, and poet Kathy Moss. See an article here.  They also appear in Paisley on July 27 at a fundraiser for the Sunny Hancock-Leon Flick Memorial Cowboy Poetry Gathering and scholarship. See an article here.

And, among other places, find Andy at Western Legends Roundup, Kanab, Utah (August 23-25, 2018); Old West Days, Valentine, Nebraska (September 29, 2018); and the Heber Valley Music and Cowboy Poetry Gathering, Heber City, Utah (October 24-28).

At Heber City, he’ll be joined by poets Waddie Mitchell, Randy Rieman, Jo Lynne Kirkwood, Al “Doc” Mehl, Doris Daley, and Jeff Carson. Featured musicians are John Anderson, Suzy Bogguss, Bar J Wranglers, Max T. Barnes, Dave Stamey, Hot Club of Cowtown, Brenn Hill, Jack Hannah, Ed Peekeekoot, Ryan Fritz, Trinity Seely, Charley Jenkins Band, Dyer Highway, High Country Cowboys, Gary McMahan, Stacy Despain, Nancy Elliott, Randy Huston, Stewart MacDougall, Many Strings, Kenny Hall, Kristen J. Lloyd, In Cahoots, and the Heber Valley Orchestra. Find more at

Photo of Andy and Jim Nelson courtesy of Andy Nelson.

(Please respect copyright. You can share this poem and photo with this post, but for any other use, please request permission.)

Christmas 2017: Submitted and Invited Poems


Find more poetry at the main page for the 18th annual Christmas at the BAR-D. Below are selected submitted poems for 2017.

“The Wily Old Cow and Santa,” by Tim Heflin
“The Ox and the Cattle,”  by Jo Lynne Kirkwood
“Untitled,” by Robert Dennis
“I Carried Mary,” by Andy Nelson
“The Star and the Sheepherders,” by Ron Secoy
“Cowboy Christmas Day,” by George Rhoades

Find many, many more Christmas poems at


by Tim Heflin

Santa got lost in a snowstorm
and landed in a Sierra meadow.
He hadn’t a clue as to where he was
and no idea which way to go.

It was windy and cold in the darkness,
Rudolph’s nose couldn’t even be seen.
The sounds and smells were scary
and the cries of the wolves sounded mean.

The reindeer were starting to panic
when something crashed out of the trees.
It was only a wily old loner cow
in snow up to her knees.

“You must be lost if you’re up here”
she said to Santa between smiles.
“I can lead you down to my owner’s ranch house
it’s only a few rugged miles.”

“I’d be much obliged” Santa replied.
“From there we can find our way.”
“I have many more stops to make with my sleigh
before the coming of day.”

Then they followed that wily old cow
down a treacherous winding trail.
So snowy, freezing and dark it was
they barely could see her tail.

After a while they dropped out of the clouds
and their vision began to improve.
The trail leveled out and then straightened
and soon they really could move.

“This is as close to the ranch as I go”
to Santa that old cow did say.
“For any ol’ cowboy that gets a rope on me
will get an extra month’s pay.”

“The path parallels an old fence line
as the valley opens up below.”
“When you see the lights of the ranch” she said
“You will know the way to go.”

“Thank you my friend” said Santa
“Can I get anything for you?”
“For all of the help that you’ve been to us,
what is there that I can do?”

That wily old cow thought for awhile
then whispered into Santa’s ear.
And none of the cowboys got a new rope
for Christmas presents that year.

Now, everyone knows about Rudolph
and I guess that is okay.
But nobody’s heard of the wily old cow
that helped to save Christmas Day.

© 2017, Tim Heflin
This poem should not be reposted or reprinted without permission


cowsjlk“Cows,” © 2017, Jo Lynne Kirkwood

CATTLE AT CHRISTMAS (or) Homage to Fake News
by Jo Lynne Kirkwood

The legend that beasts on Christmas Eve can speak in human voice
To tell the tale of the Christ Child’s birth, so all Creation may rejoice
Has passed through generations, from those who witnessed first
The donkey, sheep, and cattle, bow down at the Infant’s birth.

And who could ever argue the veracity of that story?
Told by shepherds, with Angels standing guard, and Kings in all their glory?
Even the humble Drummer Boy, with a child’s sweet honesty
Sang praise to the musical Ox and Lamb, of their rhythmical harmony.

And though perhaps the Drummer’s ballad was a wordless lullaby,
The connections of cadence and human speech can hardly be denied.
So having admitted the evidence, my mind ponders, and keeps playing
With the thought, If cattle talk on Christmas Eve, What is it that they’re saying?

My faith compels me to believe, with original intent
Of this gift, to spread Glad Tidings! it was first used as was meant.
But twice a thousand years have passed since that Holy Night and now,
And credibility no longer loves a Missionary Cow.

What ever do they talk about? What could it be they say?
Could we suppose a diatribe on the quality of hay?
Perhaps they’d like a warmer barn, fewer barbs on barbed wire fence.
Do they laugh at us behind our backs? Make jokes at our expense?

Perhaps they plot a Range War, with human elocution.
They could be planning a coup d’état, a bovine revolution!
I pause to view the calendar, to count each day and week
Until this fateful night returns – When beasts again will speak!

Paranoia settles in. There will be Reindeer on the roof!
They’ve likely formed a spy network, tapping codes with each small hoof.
We must plan with watchful vigilance; Grab our Bibles, and our Guns,
To withstand the horned and hooved assault! And then, when daylight comes,

We’ll welcome Christmas Morning, share gifts and sing of Peace,
And Celebrate the Season with a haunch of Prime Roast Beef.

© 2017, Jo Kirkwood
This poem should not be reposted or reprinted without permission


JB-17-11-09-xmas-1© 2017, LE Stevens

by Robert Dennis

Christmas time at a cow camp can get might long and cold And a feller checking cattle has to be a little bold When he saddles up a cold backed horse to go and check around Tending to all them cattle he’s in charge of ‘cross that frozen ground

That ol’ pony ain’t to tolerant of some silly little quirk When the feller on his back comes off as being a royal jerk So a cowboy tries his very best to be extremely nice ‘Specially when he and said pony, have to cross some slickery ice

Oh sure you can sharp shoe them, but there is always balls of snow That get wadded up and make horses hooves just like skates, ya’know That’s when them caulks on shoes don’t really do much good So you don’t get around like in summer time you always could

So Slim saddles up ol’ Dobbin when it’s just the right conditions Wearin’ every stitch he owns with a rifle and axe for additions Gets Dobbin’ standing down hill so he can make that awkward climb Grunts and strains to get on board cuz’ Slim ain’t in his prime

With rifle in the scabbard, axe tied on back of saddle Awkward as a hog in a canoe who ain’t never held no paddle Dobbin heads out nice and easy cuz’ he is old and pretty wise He’s done this job lots of winter with lots of different guys

They come to the first watering spot that needs a hole cut in ice So cows can drink and get there fill, but here’s the part not nice Water collects in lower spots, geographically so to speak So it’s a downhill grade to this here spot, down along a creek

Slim ain’t takin no chances, safety first is his lifelong motto So he stops on top of the upper slope just like a feller oughta’

Dobbin’s on the downhill slope, so there ain’t much of a step He loosens up in the saddle for his final disembarking prep

The thing that Slim forgot about as his belly goes past that horn Is that his gut is a lot larger than the day that Slim was born Slim had put a leather belt around and over his bulky coat Help to keep him snug and warm like the wild rag ‘round his throat

That belt hooked over that saddle horn just slick as oil on water Slims foot slipped out of the stirrup just like it maybe ought’r So Slim is hanging upside down, imitatin’ a perfect backflip About then ol’ dobbin gets scared when he feels himself start to slip

Down they go with Slim underneath praying and cussin’ pretty loud Slim is starting’ to rethink his plan and ain’t feelin’ real proud They skid downhill like a bobsled, picking’ up pretty good steam And yup you guessed it, they ended up down there, in that stream

As they break thru’ the ice on the water, Slim manages to get unhooked About right then it dawns on Slim that his goose is still uncooked Dobbin wallers on out now that he ain’t so weighted down Slim wades out wet and cold, just tickled that he didn’t drown

When Slim related this tale to us we asked what maybe he’d learned He claimed he’s had worser scares… like when he almost burned We knew he’d gained some experience and offer some sound advice Slim simply said,  “Well boys, it’s a dang cold way to break some ice”

© 2017, Robert Dennis
This poem should not be reposted or reprinted without permission


by Andy Nelson

An angel came down to see me this morning,
About the carpenter and his bride;
He gave instructions then left without warning,
I was chosen to be Mary’s ride.

I’m just an ol’ donkey, a right lowly beast,
Called to carry the mother of God;
I’m awkward and furry, homely at the least,
And my poor voice is simply just odd.

The assignment I have is really more fit,
For a noble and a comely steed;
But I’m the one that was given charge of it,
So, I accept this mantle indeed.

I place my steps softly and watch where I walk,
Making certain that I do not fall;
I try to stay silent, work hard not to balk,
And I strive to make no noise at all.

She bears the Messiah, I carry them both,
An incumbrance with which I am blessed;
I labor earnestly to fulfill my oath,
And pause only as she needs to rest.

The road is rugged and my cargo divine,
I humbly execute my task;
Now I wish to tarry, a home to be mine,
But I know that I just cannot ask.

As I turn to walk away from the stable,
She touches my soft cheek with her hand;
I would speak to her if I were just able,
But somehow, she can still understand.

She gestures to a spot that I might bed down,
To witness a miracle tonight;
As a Savior is born, a king with no crown,
And the heavens attest that it’s right.

A modest birth in a humble surrounding,
Is the way the Redeemer came in;
He came to this world with blessings abounding,
To free man from the bondage of sin.

I guess it’s fitting that a donkey like me,
Was called to deliver a new king;
So, I lay here tonight completely carefree,
And rejoice as herald angels sing.

© 2017, Andy Nelson
This poem should not be reposted or reprinted without permission


by Ron Secoy

The herd was settled for the night
And Red was making his round
He heard Sam singing in the dark
Keeping the dogies all calmed down

They met on the north side
Red was peering up at the sky
Sam mosied up real quiet like
Until the men were side by side

“Sure is still out here tonight
Reckon we can just sit a bit
Sure is a real brilliant night
Look at how the stars are lit”

Red said, “Reminds me of a star
They say was the biggest in the night
Could be seen for miles around
Giving off the brightest of light”

“That star led some Easterners
To the little town of Bethlehem
To a new born baby in a stable
They gave gifts and worshipped him”

Sam, scratching his head, said
“Now, you don’t say?
A star, a stable and some Easterners
Don’t think I heard it that way”

“Seems there were these sheep herders
Somewhere out on the flats
There came a ruckus in the sky
With singin’ and shoutin’ and all that”

“Bet, that ran off them sheep, Red said
Probably had to chase them all night”
“Nope, they just left them there Sam replied
And went into town to see the sight”

“Of a babe lying in a feed trough
With the animals all around
The parents Mary and Joseph
And everything all quieted down”

Those sheep dippers got real rowdy
They tried to wake up the town
Telling about them goin’s on
And baby Jesus they had found”

“Good thing it weren’t cattle” says Sam
“They’d be scattered twelve ways to noon
The angels would have needed doctoring
From all those carbine rifle wounds”

“Reckon so” old Red replied
“Guess that’s why he came long ago
But I sure am glad he came
Sam said, riding off, singing low

© 2017, Ron Secoy
This poem should not be reposted or reprinted without permission


by George Rhoades

Breakin’ ice and haulin’ hay
On a cowboy Christmas day,
Cactus, cedar and mesquite
Coated in ice and sleet.

Cattle all huddle together
Out of the frigid weather
Along the timber creek;
Skies gray and bleak.

A coyote wanders warily,
Prowlin’ the woods cautiously
In the early-mornin’ glow
Of freshly fallen snow.

North wind comes howlin,’
A sharp, whistlin’ violin,
Screamin’ like a banshee
Across the open prairie.

Stars the night before
Bright diamonds galore;
Trees standin’ bare
In the cold wintry air.

Workin’ way out here
Miles from anywhere,
Cold and bitter and raw
Down every hill and draw.

A lonely crow calls,
And the sound softly falls
Over the frosty range,
Eerie, hauntin’ and strange.

“Thank God we get to see
This outdoor majesty,”
All the cowhands say
On a cowboy Christmas day.

© 2017, George Rhoades
This poem should not be reposted or reprinted without permission


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