FILL ‘ER UP TO OVERFLOWIN’
by Ken Cook
There’s nothin’ forged by mortal man,
Can measure full the gain,
When God swings wide ol’ heaven’s gate,
And sorts a day of rain.
No vessel on a sun-baked ranch,
Not dog dish, gauge or pail,
Can hold the flow and endless worth,
A soaker can unveil.
You’d barter with the devil sure,
If rain ‘gainst soul was bet,
‘Cause on both knees you’ve prayed for months,
With not an answer yet.
More natural than breathin’ air,
See every drop’s a gift,
All creatures livin’ feel the change,
When clouds begin to shift,
And thunderheads show in the west,
The breeze turns damp, not burned.
Your soul might be the devil’s toy,
But for now the sky has turned,
As lightning flashes, thunder screams,
Most cattle bunch to hide.
The horses race the barbed wire south,
They feel it deep inside.
Anticipation, same as you,
Heaven’s gate blows back,
A gully washer’s on its way,
The drought’s under attack.
So fill ’em up to overflowin’,
Each gauge and pail and dish,
The devil may have gained a soul,
But cowboy, you got your wish.
© 2007, Ken Cook, used with permission
We’re devoting this week to rain themes, a sort of cowboy poetry rain dance.
Third-generation South Dakota cowboy and rancher Ken Cook comments, “We are good for moisture, unlike so many others.” When we shared this poem last year, his area was in a severe drought. He wrote, in part, “Sakes alive she’s dry in parts of our country. Got our first good summer rain a week or so ago. Half a dog dish! I measure by the dish. Saves any lengthy discussions pertaining to who got a half, three quarters or ninety five hundredths. Come to think of it, that last one is close enough to an inch to call it an inch right? The dish also keeps me from exaggerating, as long as I beat the dog to the dish.”
Ken says, “This poem began on a humorous path but took a turn the longer I traveled with it. It suits me.
“Fill ‘er Up to Overflowing” is included on Ken Cook’s CD, Cowboys Are Like That.
Ken Cook comes from a long line of respected South Dakota cowboys and he and wife Nancy have perpetuated that line with their offspring. They also have some irresistible grandchildren. This 2013 photograph, courtesy of Ken Cook, includes Ken, his son, and son-in-law.
Find more about Ken Cook and more of his poetry in our feature at CowboyPoetry.com.
(Please respect copyright. You can share this poem and photo with this post, but for other uses, request permission.)