Another Reason Why I Don’t Keep A Gun in the House

by BILLY COLLINS (1941- )

featuring 2 readings by actor, Jamie Renell
The Angry Neighbor
The Resigned Rabbi

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

William J. (Billy) Collins was born on March 22, 1941. From 2001 to 2003, he served two terms as the 44th Poet Laureate of the United States. In his home state of New York, he has been recognized as a Literary Lion of the New York Public Library and was selected as the New York State Poet for 2004.

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