Friday, June 29, 2007

Poetry Friday: the barking, barking dog

My neighborhood is noisy. We hear cars that speed down our street emitting music from super-enhanced speakers. We hear popping noises that could be cars backfiring (we hope). Sometimes, we hear the crash of cars in our intersection during the middle of the night, because someone thought it would be safe to run a red light. On weekends, we have various charities screeching, "Carwash! Carwash!" in the parking lot of the Grocery Outlet. In the moments between all of the human and machine-made din, the dogs bark. And bark. And bark. They're keeping the houses safe. I dedicate this poem to the barking dogs of my neighborhood:

Another Reason Why 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.

Today's Poetry Friday roundup is over at Shaken & Stirred.


Lady K said...

I can't stop giggling. My half-beagle/half-australian heeler barks all the time. It was really easy to teach her the "speak" trick.

LOVED that poem! It's true, too: Beethoven at full blast doesn't even drown it out.

Have a terrific weekend!!!

Elaine Magliaro said...


I love Billy Collins. The poem you selected for today is a favorite of mine. Happy Friday!

Lady K said...

That also reminded me of a Pink Floyd song, "Seamus," that has a barking dog in it. Cracks me up every time I hear it. It's on their "Meddle" album. Not their typical stuff...then again, they're not typical.

Saints and Spinners said...

Lady K: Will they ever invent a "silence for 10 minutes" trick for dogs? (And children too-- I am so glad that my daughter learned to talk, but sometimes I do wish she had an "off" button for 10 minute intervals.)

Elaine: I'm so glad. Thanks for stopping by. Happy PF!

Andromeda Jazmon said...

This is one of the first poems I heard Billy Collins read (on the radio). I can still hear his voice in my head. What a great poem!

limpy99 said...

That reminds me of the Raven, ever croaking "Nevermore"

Anonymous said...

Love, love, love Billy Collins. Now I leave work with the mental image of a black lab, sitting in an orchestra pit, wearing a stiff necked white collar and tails, awaiting his barking solo. A silly start to the weekend.

Myth said...

Great poem! (love the title too!)

Now I wonder if Beethoven ever wrote a part for a screeching parrot??? I shall have to try this technique and see - maybe something is missing from the world of classical music

Saints and Spinners said...

I think my favorite part of this poem is the title. You see, I can empathize. People the world over are sooo grateful that Alkelda the Gleeful does not believe in bearing arms (or arming bears). At least, not the kind that get one killed. Bonking a burglar over the head with a flashlight/torch is another issue...

Lone Star Ma said...

Oh, yeah. Dogs don't particularly bug me, but such personal annoyances are also why I had better never bear arms. That poem is so funny!