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Michael Rielly
Michael Rielly

Cowboy Christmas

A Cowboy's Christmas Prayer
by S. Omar Barker (1895-1985)

 

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
In December, 2013 the S. Omar Barker estate announced this poem is now considered in the public domain.

Edited by Michael Rielly

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