Friday, February 22, 2008

Another Reason I Don't Keep a Gun in the House by Billy Collins

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 was born in New York City in 1941. He served as the Poet Laureate in 2001 and is the author of several books of poetry.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a musician, and a few years ago I was a particpant in a Writer's Workshop in which Billy Collins was the poetry leader. After hearing him read this poem (and having weathered several hundred performances of Beethoven 5 in the course of a 40-year symphony career), I typed it out on good paper and now have it framed and signed by Collins himself. It was nice to see it here!

1:07 PM  
Anonymous Carol in San Antonio said...

Great poem! Thanks for introducing me to Billy Collins, "Cowboy Obama"! And I _am_ hoping for change, thanks! And I find it disturbing that you sully this great poetry site with inappropriate back-handed partisan politics.

8:41 PM  
Blogger Cowboy Obama said...


Speaking out of character, I love the guy (and think he looks good in the hat). It's all meant in fun. I'll be more careful next week. Everyone's getting a little sensitive here in the "silly season."


11:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Cowboy,
Please don't stop being wacky. You are funny! You are refreshing! One thing the world does not need is another poet w/o a sense of humor. (Oy.) No pressure, but I would be disturbed if you sullied your great site with a lot of inappropriate taking-oneself-way-too-seriously-ness.
;-) Carry on.
Poet against the bore

7:55 PM  
Blogger angeljoy said...

Love Billy Collins. Good wit. Was introduced to him while lisening to Prairie Home Companion.

2:20 PM  
Blogger kathyayini said...

all things are bright and beautiful.
A man should patronage fine arts.!
lovely poems..

10:21 PM  
Blogger Drained said...

Dwight you look like a psycho with the doll. Are you trying to psych people out. If not, lose the doll.

12:33 AM  
Blogger Drained said...

Why do poets have such hidden souls. Where is your soul Dwight, where is the creativity. Can you be a leader or a follower of the arts.

12:38 AM  
Blogger Drained said...

Paradise hotel by Charles Simic.
I had to read twice to understand. Living in a country with no restrictions this day and age, and having everything in arms length, I feel like I'm letting ancestors down by not living life as hard as what they did.

12:54 AM  
Blogger TrueBlueSam said...

Funny title, and expresses frustration well. I am a shooter and a dog owner, and I am not offended. Give the poor dog a hot dog and a pat on the head. Cut up the hot dog first so the dog does not choke.

10:49 AM  
Anonymous Nicole24 said...

مرحبا ،
واريد ان اقول لكم عن عظيم الموقع وجدته. إنهم لا يدفعون لي لقراءة البريد الإلكتروني ،
زيارة المواقع على شبكة الانترنت وأكثر من ذلك بكثير.

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3:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for this. someone new to read before i leave.x

9:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great poem. I like it very much and I recommend it to my friends.

3:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great poems! I would like to contribute one of mine to your blog. It is about the former monster of Europe: Napoleon. If you would like to post it or see it first, contact me at

I have published 1 poem and the rest of mine are floating all over the Internet. I personally don't like the idea of copyrighting my stuff and I prefer to let these gems be published under my online name. They are Classical and European in nature and I also dabble in the occasion nature poem.

12:58 AM  
Blogger Thetruth365 said...

Go to Boycott Olympics...let the world know the truth...

11:04 PM  
Blogger Applewench said...

ROFL! I'm sharing this one with my sixth-graders TODAY!!

10:43 AM  
Blogger The Lifeteller said...

there is nothing wrong with remembering the poet of yesterday but what about thew ones who spend time in theyre living room, den, exercise room, some place just for them to write and suffer with words that will someday be mentioned in memory, I hate that why cant we be respected, and read now let the poet have some of the goodness of theyre writings theyre wordsmithing

4:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

good job

6:41 AM  
Blogger Chatty ~ Ranie said...

Another Reason to keep a Gun in the House I love it. I live out in the country our neighbor has dogs that seem to bark all night long. While our dogs are quiet ..*smile*..

1:57 PM  
Blogger Ginger said...

billy collins is my absolute favorite. i adore his work.

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