Pastoral Heaven

Their blood runs through me, now
those men and women whose blistered hands
plowed fields with mules and sweat
and still owe more to the company store
than to God.


Hard, callous souls
and thin sheets to keep off the croup,
hungry children,
hungrier than those buried at the church
up the dirt road.


This land is your land
this land is not our land
for he lives even further on up the road
yet close enough for us to feel his want


Sugar cane, cotton
beans and greens
don’t amount to much this year
so we best gotta move on


Gotta move on
move on
so that their blood can flow
on and on
through me


About the Author

Raymond Berthelot is the Parks Program Manager for the Louisiana Office of State Parks and is also an adjunct faculty member with Baton Rouge Community College. His work has appeared in The Elevation Review, the Carolina Quarterly, and DASH Literary Journal. A chapbook, “The Middle Ages,” is forthcoming.