Market to Table


Berries to sell, berries to sell –
Picked in the orchard and picked in the dell!
Blackberries, raspberries, currants, and all
Luscious ripe berries that come in the fall;
Every one fresh from the bush where it grew, –
Only this morning I picked them for you!
Berries to sell!
Come, now, my lady, bring silver and buy
Berries, fresh berries, for jelly and pie;
Pile them in kettles and heap them in pans, –
Boil them in sugar and put them in cans;
Buy them for breakfast and buy them for tea,
Buy them for dinner – and buy them from me!
Berries to sell!


Erstwhile of pets and pans I sang.  Today
Of garden stuff and such I make my lay.
I laud the rough red beet; the curling chard,
The cabbage with its head serenely hard;
The purple-banded turnip; and the green
Fat-podded pea; the slender, crisp string bean.
I praise the deep-fringed carrot, orange-bright;
Young bantam corn, the epicure’s delight;
the warty squash )within, all white and gold);
the plump tomato, full as it can hold
Of luscious juice, to tempt the temperate;
The parsnip, sweeter as the year grows late.

They carry to my kitchen (whether brought
From garden or from grocer) thought on thought
Of thanks to those who nurtured them, with toil,
And drew, for me, rich goodness from the soil.

July 10, 1935  – Copied by Isabel Roberts Dougherty


The sun is high. The light comes pouring in
Between the ruffled curtains, sheer and thin.
Within a nook a small round table stands,
Set out with all the modest meal demands,
The cloth of clean pale yellow linen lies
On dark old wood; and in the center rise
The slender stalks of daffodil and fern.
The cups have yellow bands.  The coffee urn
Is burnished silver. On a crystal plate
White grapes like clustered opals gleam and wait.
Then there are cream, and butter freshly made,
And topaz-colored orange marmalade,
And toast kept hot within a covered dish.
What more could any hungry sluggard wish?

And now the feast delays no longer there,
For footsteps sound, and voices on the stair.


A country woman at the door
Has brought a basket on her arm,
And offers an abounding store
Of treasures from her mystic farm.

I run to cull the gifts she bears,
And calculate my silver sums;
For all I want of all her wares
Is only zinnias and plums.

I care not what my menus are,
For I may feast my eyes and soul
On blossoms in a copper jar
And plums that pile a jade-green bowl.

What though we dine on milk and bread?
We’ll soon forget, if hunger comes;
For eyes are sated, souls are fed,
On zinnias and scented plums.

1728 Regent Street, Madison, Wisconsin


Guests are coming – I must make
Cherry pie and layer cake,
Sugar cookies, crab with rice,
Chicken patties, lemon rice.
I must get the children dressed,
So that they will look their best;
Tell them what they are not to do;
Get the guest-room ready too.
Sweep it with the nicest care;
Hang the linen sheets to air.
Dust the mantle, make the bed –
Deck it with the ruffled spread.
Fold a blanket at the foot;
Find a cheerful book to put
On the little candle stand,
Ready for the lady’s hand.
I must order cream and soap,
Ginger ale and cantaloupe,
Time is going, goodness sake!
I must hurry up and bake
Layer cake and cherry pie.
Guests are coming – I must fly.

Buffalo, New York
Commerce – August 29, 1924