“On the great book that’s titled Pheasant Hunting

this is the cover photo,” Steven says.

Heavy cover varies from brown to baize

silvered with frost, with not an arctic bunting

spinning above November fields. A blaze

burns in the last leaves of the shelterbelt,

but not a pheasant flushes from the veldt.


To every hunt we drive more than an hour,

talking of God, St. Peter and the rock

on which He built, talk about length of stock

and trigger pull, competing ammo power.

Leaving at O Dark Thirty, God O’Clock,

we prove once more there are more ways to pray

than Stevie’s pastors or my priests can say.

— Timothy Murphy

Published in the 2012-09-28 issue: 

Timothy Murphy, a frequent contributor to Commonweal, died on June 30 at his home in Fargo, North Dakota. His books include Very Far North (2002), Mortal Stakes and Faint Thunder (2011), and Devotions (2017). Requiescat in pace.

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