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At the Farmers' Market
Jeanie Greensfelder


I’m standing in line to buy this week’s soup.
Someone I know comes up behind me,
places her hands on my shoulders and says,

Sweetheart, you can make your own soup,
and off she walks, after pushing
my you-don’t-know-how-to-live button: 

    I’m back in seventh-grade home economics
    when the teacher asks, Who knows how to make soup?
    I’m the only one to raise a hand, and with pride I say,

    First, you open the can.

    Then I’m in college psychology searching
    for the secrets to life before they were sold
    on every street corner, when they were 
    written in jargon, when my professor says,

    Go through the motion to get the emotion.

    My sister teases, The secrets to the universe
    are in the glove compartment. And there’s the day
    I hear James Taylor sing The secret of life

    is enjoying the passage of time.

I sigh and buy my guilt-flavored corn chowder.
As I move through the market, I see the woman
who sent me on this journey. She’s buying
zucchini and cauliflower. I control my urge to
put my hands on her shoulders and say

Sweetheart, you can grow your own vegetables.

From Marriage and Other Leaps of Faith, (Penciled In, 2015).
Used here with the author’s permission.


Jeanie Greensfelder grew up in St. Louis, Missouri. A psychologist, she seeks to understand herself and others on this shared journey, filled, as Joseph Campbell said, with sorrowful joys and joyful sorrows. Jeanie grew up in St. Louis but now lives on the central coast of California with her husband, Andy, where she volunteers as a bereavement counselor at Hospice of San Luis Obispo County. Learn more about her at


Post New Comment:
Here's me reading last weeks poems this week! WhT a little gem this poem is. What a great last line!
Posted 08/24/2015 04:14 AM
That poem was just great!
Posted 08/18/2015 07:58 PM
Jane Elsdon:
Jane Elsdon: Truth and wisdom marinated in humor. Love this poem, Jeanie!
Posted 08/18/2015 12:18 PM
What a great poem.
Posted 08/18/2015 12:08 PM
Perfect way to end this poem. Fun!
Posted 08/18/2015 11:32 AM
Linda W. Owen:
You really put us 'in the moment'! What a delight!
Posted 08/18/2015 11:11 AM
Glen Sorestad:
So well done,Jeanie, it rings with the perfect bell tone of authenticity.
Posted 08/18/2015 09:37 AM
chris schulz:
Thanks for this thought provoking journey, the secrets to life resurrected at the "Farmer's Market"!
Posted 08/18/2015 09:25 AM
Enjoyed this poem, and really got a kick out of the "you-don’t-know-how-to-live button" = perfect!
Posted 08/18/2015 09:18 AM
wendy morton:
As a soup maker, I can say it is the secret of life. A sweetheart of a poem.
Posted 08/18/2015 09:12 AM
This is funny! And so easy to relate to!
Posted 08/18/2015 09:11 AM
This morning I started my pea soup in the Crock Pot but could not find a bay leaf.
Posted 08/18/2015 08:33 AM
Larry Schug:
I've been trying to write a decent "farmers' market" poem for a while. You set the bar high, Jeannie. Good work.
Posted 08/18/2015 08:03 AM
Yes--perfect ending! --and everything else in between!
Posted 08/18/2015 07:56 AM
Wonderful poem. Thank you, Jeanie
Posted 08/18/2015 07:47 AM
Janet Leahy:
Great poem, you wrap it up so well with that perfect ending!
Posted 08/18/2015 07:28 AM
Loved every word of this poem!
Posted 08/18/2015 07:19 AM
Should have done it!!! Great poem!
Posted 08/18/2015 06:51 AM

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