Food Poem – Carrying Water to the Field by Joyce Sutphen

Poet Joyce Sutphen is able to conjure such vivid and intimate experiences through small everyday objects. I so enjoy her work. Hope you do too! Here is a poem about a mason jar of water from today’s Writers Almanac:

And on those hot afternoons in July,
when my father was out on the tractor
cultivating rows of corn, my mother
would send us out with a Mason jar
filled with ice and water, a dish towel
wrapped around it for insulation.

Like a rocket launched to an orbiting
planet, we would cut across the fields
in a trajectory calculated to intercept—
or, perhaps, even—surprise him
in his absorption with the row and the
turning always over earth beneath the blade.

He would look up and see us, throttle
down, stop, and step from the tractor
with the grace of a cowboy dismounting
his horse, and receive gratefully the jar
of water, ice cubes now melted into tiny
shards, drinking it down in a single gulp,
while we watched, mission accomplished.

“Carrying Water to the Field” by Joyce Sutphen.

The beautiful image that makes water drops look like glass sculpture is from:


4 thoughts on “Food Poem – Carrying Water to the Field by Joyce Sutphen


    Monajan, What a beautiful Image created in the poem. I don’t know at what point in time of history of agricultural trajectory Joyce Sutphen wrote this poem, the poem reminds me of my growing up days, when in a summer hot I had carried water, without ice and insulation, in an earthen jar and an aluminum glass to the field for my father, brothers and wage workers engaged in weeding out jute and rice field. If any water remaining was given to the farmers in the nearby field? What a similarity! I feel proud to be my dad’s son. Baba

    Sent from my iPad



    • lsbanu

      I’m glad you liked the poem, Baba. Sutphen is a contemporary poet who grew up on a Minnesota farm. I like her imagery of small things likes tomatoes or a jar of water. I am sure you can relate. I thought of you when posting this poem. How nice to be able to connect to the same feeling and experience from world’s apart!


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