For years, Keath Borchert has shared cowboy poetry to his friends and neighbors in the Southern Red River Valley. Daily News was there when he delivered “A Cowboy Christmas” before a rehearsal of the 2021 Christmas Cantata.
“I had the pleasure or displeasure to work as a working cowboy on numerous ranches in western North Dakota in the Badlands to the natural grasslands in western Richland County, mostly on horseback,” Keath said. “It’s not like the TV program ‘Yellowstone,’ but in some cases, it’s close enough.”
The cantata offers something amazing to those who experience it, Keath said. It brings the gift of Christmas to so many people. Many audience members have said, “You made my Christmas.”
Cowboy poetry has rhyme and it has rhythm.
“It also tells a story,” Keath said. “The story is often shared by the storyteller and the writer. This is one of my favorites, because it’s so doggone good.”
“My mind begins to wander to them days/them days of long ago
I can still hear the bells of the bobsled when we fed/and feel, and feel the cold, wet snow
Now, my saddle horse would whinny with breath that I could see
as we rode up in them hills to fetch a Christmas tree
Oh, my little fingers were kept busy stringing popcorn,/berries and bows for that tree,
and when it was finished, what a sight to see
I can still remember our little place down near the lake
And think about the sacrifices my folks sure had to make
I think about my mother — I think about my mom/preparing special treats
and hanging up the stockings she took right off our feet
And dear old dad, dear old dad ‘a makin’ just that one, just that one special toy
for all the happiness and delight of each girl or boy
Oh! I can still smell the roast mom made us, and taste that pumpkin pie
With green beans and mashed potatoes piled almost to the sky
I can still hear the Christmas blessing, with heads bowed before the meal
And think how special it made us all feel
You see, we were/we were taught the reason why we celebrate
It was a baby born that day, it weren’t just chance or fate
And when I hold my grandchildren, though Christmas/Christmas ain’t quite the same
I’ll share with them this special story and forever ever bless His name.”
“May your Christmas be all that you want it to be, and thank you, thank you for your gifts,” Keath said, concluding the poem.
If you would like to listen to “A Cowboy Christmas,” it can be found on the Facebook page “Community Choir Cantata.”
On behalf of Keath Borchert, Daily News wishes the Southern Red River Valley a safe and happy holiday season.