I. Easter Monday

Mon chef majeur? He is the Holy Ghost,

and Nathan asks, “Have you been born again?”

Perhaps not. I have faith in Christ. Amen

I say to you He comes when I am toast

browned on a grill, beside me shredded dove

tossed with the pasta, egg yolks beaten fine

with a wire whisk, a whisper of white wine

and then we garnish with a prayer for love

and Kalamata olives. I am Greek

from way back and invite my friends to dine

however politics or fates incline.

Thrust from the garden, we were made to seek

provender. God told Peter: “Kill and eat.”

Temptation: lambs gambol on cloven feet.


II. Journeyman

A year, missionary in Kazakhstan,

a great place for a boy to learn God’s plan

      set forth in Ten Commandments

      or Madison’s Amendments

to the best rules ever devised for man

      since coal spilled from a hod

      burned for the love of God,

and venison browned in a frying pan.


III.  Homecoming

My guest first earned his spurs not far from Pinedale

and spent most of his teenage years on horseback

roaming the wilds, the Wind River Mountains,

his Bible Camp not many miles from Cora,

and followed me up the Green River Valley

to find my fire ring stone cold under Square Top.


I pray the Bible will become his bass note,

the drone string on a gypsy’s hurdy-gurdy

above which treble strings ring like the angel’s

who harped with David in his ancient city

and now stands guard over a poet’s children.

Aged four and eight, let them have saddled ponies.

—Timothy Murphy

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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Published in the 2013-03-22 issue: View Contents
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