Dog In Field

A Gift of Island Poetry ft Frank Ledwell (1930-2008)

Simply by being recognized
as an Islander
all artlessness is forgiven.
My request of a triple rum
on Air Canada hardly raises a brow.
I can give an overhearable opinion about
the baked potatoes in a Toronto restaurant,
or sport red mud on my car
driving down Boyleston Street
in the Boston States,
or can say, G’day b’y,
to the startled person entering
a hotel elevator in Ottawa,
or toe-tap unmolested during question
period in the House of Commons:
the Sergeant-at-Arms can’t tell
the difference between “God
Save the Queen” and “St. Anne’s Reel”
and thinks I’m keeping time
to the simultaneous translation.
Once, so moved by the super-realism
of Alex Colville’s hunting beagle
in the National Gallery, I made
the mistake of whistling, Here boy,
only to be told by the attendant
to keep silence or to get out.
Hol’ on a minute there, young fella,
don’t y’know who yer talkin’ to?
I says. He stuck to his guns, and I
went off with my tail between my legs, but
I swear that dog barked at him as I left.

Frank Ledwell’s “Dog in Field” is found in Dip & Veer: Reflections on the Art of Alex Colville. The Acorn Press, 1996.

Each month Deirdre Kessler selects a poem by an Island poet for The Buzz.