Saturday, December 03, 2005

Another Reason Why I Don't Keep A Gun In The House

Another Reason Why I Don't Keep A Gun In The House

The neighbors' dog will not stop barking.
He is barking the same high, rhythmic bark
that he barks every time they leave the house.
They must switch him on on their way out.

The neighbors' dog will not stop barking.
I close all the windows in the house
and put on a Beethoven symphony full blast
but I can still hear him muffled under the music,
barking, barking, barking,

and now I can see him sitting in the orchestra,
his head raised confidently as if Beethoven
had included a part for barking dog.

When the record finally ends he is still barking,
sitting there in the oboe section barking,
his eyes fixed on the conductor who is
entreating him with his baton

while the other musicians listen in respectful
silence to the famous barking dog solo,
that endless coda that first established
Beethoven as an innovative genius.

Billy Collins


I thought this poem was hilarious. The title first caught my eye. The poem is about a neighbor's annoying dog that barks uncontrollably everytime they leave the house. The imagery the author uses of the dog being a member of an orchestra is great. I pictured the dog in a suit and a little bowtie, even though nothing of the sort is mentioned. He describes the dog as performing a barking dog solo as though beethoven had written a part in his symphony for a barking dog. The author uses repetition twice-once in the first line of the first two stanzas, and the also in a line where he repeats the word "barking" three times. The ongoing image used throughout the poem is one of the dog being part of the symphony. The author describes the dog as being switched on by the neighbors as though the dog were put there just to annoy the author. The perfect touch has to be the title, which isn't mentioned anywhere in the poem, but has to do with what the author is feeling. Obviously the author has a great sense of humor, and he wants to let the reader know that he would be tempted to kill the annoying dog if he had a gun closeby.

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