Poetic Insights: Here is the Soul


Here is the Soul

Sweet mother south

pink thick pintos


butter beans

okra and tomatoes

white rice, cube

steak gravy 

black-eyed peas

and mustard greens

don’t forget the

pepper sauce—

here is my heart

in a to-go plate

autumn red maple

rivers of blood

black, brown, white

come on in, baby

sweet children

tired pilgrims

marching to our

Father’s house

my neighbor, she

brings me turnips

mashed like


even a blind pig

gets lucky

Here is the soul

in the food

not just country


Here is a cabbage

I grew for you,

Miss Vaughn

Please bless it

with your

magic hamhock

humming with

closed eyes

hips curving

with the earth

progenitor of

Georgia collards

spirit embodied,

selling pies from

under a tent—

thank you, ma’am

About the Author

James Murdock is a poet, writer, naturalist, and educator originally from Metter, Georgia.  His work has been included in several literary journals, including the Blue Mountain Review, Hobo Camp Review, and Penumbra (Madrid, Spain).  His first collection of poems and essays, Think Dear Daughter, was listed as the top new release for nature writing. 

His book is available on Amazon as well as through some retailers.  Murdock works and spends most of his time in Eatonton but lives on a farm in Jasper County with his wife, Jenna, and their daughter, Tallulah. The photos accompanying the poem are from Murdock’s farm in Jasper County.

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