Very Surprising View from the Bottom of a Water Bucket (Emily Dickinson + Randall Jarrell)

(Video link here.) The Bucket is one of the sweetest, charming and curiously refreshing videos we’ve seen in ages. John Wells, writer of the old-form blog The Field Lab, “Life off the grid in the SW Texas dessert. An experiment in sustainable living“, found a way to show what the view is like from the bottom of a watering bucket. His commentary reveals the bucket of water to have been a sort of invitation to his animal neighbors, who happened by randomly:

Everybody loves water in the desert. I was pleasantly surprised during the edit to see that George made an appearance. I know him from all the other rabbits because of the tiny notch in his ear. A burro just happened to come by in time to be included. Ben went against the script and decided to just nudge the bucket. You can lead a steer to water but you can’t make him drink. Note: The swimming bees were rescued.

John Wells, The Field Lab

Wells’ rigged bucket made for a inspired bit of visual poetry, and really, a meditation on the amazing stuff we take so for granted: water. We found a couple of poems to to with it..

Water, is taught by thirst.

Water, is taught by thirst.
Land—by the Oceans passed.
Transport—by throe—
Peace—by its battles told—
Love, by Memorial Mold—
Birds, by the Snow.
                                 —Emily Dickinson

Well Water

What a girl called “the dailiness of life”
(Adding an errand to your errand. Saying,
“Since you’re up . . .” Making you a means to
A means to a means to) is well water
Pumped from an old well at the bottom of the world.
The pump you pump the water from is rusty
And hard to move and absurd, a squirrel-wheel
A sick squirrel turns slowly, through the sunny
Inexorable hours. And yet sometimes
The wheel turns of its own weight, the rusty
Pump pumps over your sweating face the clear
Water, cold, so cold! you cup your hands
And gulp from them the dailiness of life.

                                                 —Randall Jarrell



Click to enlarge the image and see Wells’ wonderful Field Lab set up. An original, doing his thing…

John Wells, The Field Lab


via Kottke

6 Responses to Very Surprising View from the Bottom of a Water Bucket (Emily Dickinson + Randall Jarrell)

  1. Niheala 05.12.2017 at 6:39am #

    Refreshing indeed!

  2. Flavia Bacarella 05.12.2017 at 7:45am #

    The bucket video is absolutely wonderful!

  3. Jan VG 05.12.2017 at 9:42am #

    What a beautiful but necessary statement on the importance of water, even this tiny amount, to all creatures.
    Definitely a good teaching tool.

  4. David Saltman 05.12.2017 at 12:34pm #

    “The bottom of a pail is broken through.” — a Zen master, on enlightenment.

  5. gallagher 06.07.2017 at 2:10pm #

    Just read this,.
    had to think of ‘the Bucket’.
    What difference,..

    Anecdote of the Jar
    (Wallace Stevens)

    I placed a jar in Tennessee,
    And round it was, upon a hill.
    It made the slovenly wilderness
    Surround that hill.

    The wilderness rose up to it,
    And sprawled around, no longer wild.
    The jar was round upon the ground
    And tall and of a port in air.

    It took dominion every where.
    The jar was gray and bare.
    It did not give of bird or bush,
    Like nothing else in Tennessee.

  6. Sally Schneider 06.14.2017 at 10:32am #

    SO great. Thank you Gallagher. Do you just carry these poems around in your head?

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