Featured Poet: John Perrault, North Hampton
John is the author of The Ballad of Louis Wagner (Peter Randall); Here comes the Old Man Now (Oyster River Press); and Jefferson’s Dream (Hobblebush Books.)
His poetry has appeared in the Christian Science Monitor, Commonweal, Poet Lore,Blue Unicorn, and elsewhere. He was PortsmouthPoet Laureate 2003-2005.
As a boy, the closest I ever came to having a dog was having Jack living right next
door. Summer mornings I’d fling the screen door open, scamper out on the back
porch, and whistle for him—and he’d come flying, race up the steps into my arms,
and wiggle us both silly. His reward was invariably a hot dog or two fresh out of the
frig with nary a no from my mom. My reward was pure canine love. I was working
on shades and shadows in another poem when Jack unexpectedly popped into mind.
I remembered how his game training somehow produced a new game: chase the
shadow and catch the ball, or shell, or stone. We all thought it hilarious. Never
loved a dog like I did old Jack. The poem appears in the recent anthology Dog’s Singing, from Salmon Poetry in Ireland.
The Neighbor’s Dog
Jack chased shadows.
His tail if the light was right.
Toss a stone, he sprung for the spot
Spotting the ground till it hit his nose.
What a crazy hound they said,
Patting Jack’s head, fondling his ears.
His eyes, two gray wells that never cleared.
Jack chased cars too.
To be specific, the tires
So long as they shadowed the road.
One day he got close enough to chew.
To the burial in Jack’s
Back yard. They stood around, casting
Shadows on the stone that bears his name.
John’s poems and ballads may be sampled at www.johnperrault.com