Billy Collins

(22 March 1941 - / New York City)

Another Reason Why I Don'T Keep A Gun In The House - Poem 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.

Comments about Another Reason Why I Don'T Keep A Gun In The House by Billy Collins

  • (2/20/2018 5:30:00 PM)

    Why is it called Another Reason Why I Don'T Keep A Gun In The House? (Report) Reply

    1 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • (12/4/2017 7:23:00 PM)

    Which book is this poem in (Report) Reply

  • Tom Allport (1/6/2017 1:56:00 PM)

    tom allport
    I always knew dogs were musical and clever. (Report) Reply

  • Shareq Rahman (11/28/2016 7:57:00 AM)

    I once knew a dog called Beethoven, in a movie. A saint Bernard does not bark so much and will kill this poem. (Report) Reply

  • Loppo Louie (11/15/2016 1:19:00 PM)

    Another reason...
    excellent one there. (Report) Reply

  • Susan Williams (12/19/2015 10:58:00 PM)

    The barking dog is driving me crazy and will that serve as a legal excuse when I shoot him into the next world while laughing maniacally? (Report) Reply

  • (9/20/2014 1:23:00 PM)

    How very refreshing. As an unschooled novice wanting to connect with real, deep feelings, I will at times become discouraged when I read established, honored poets that I not only don't care for but also don't begin to 'get'. Poetry is subjective, yes..... Thank you for restoring my sanity with your museful contact. (Report) Reply

  • Krishnakumar Chandrasekar Nair (10/14/2013 3:34:00 AM)

    Every dog has its song
    And to us it is stat taco of barks
    Beethoven with a tail, why not
    There he goes again, oh hark
    Bow wow wow wow wow! ! !
    (Report) Reply

  • (12/29/2012 3:54:00 AM)

    Report mid=5646749
    Here's the inspired kernel of truth hidden by Billy Collins's poem: it's fucking hilarious, and that's it. Already Reported Reply

  • Eiz Qarqash (6/3/2012 5:34:00 AM)

    I liked the poem a lot. Billy Collins's poems are very simple with slight favor of mystery, but they symbolize complex thoughts. Thank you, Mr. Collins for such a great poem and I hope I'll meet you in person someday. (Report) Reply

  • (1/27/2012 4:03:00 PM)

    My second favorite poem ever.... and the poem which led me to my favorite poet ever... Billy Collins the maestro.... Thank you Billy... Enjoyed your recent visit to Vanderbilt University, please come again. (Report) Reply

  • (4/20/2010 1:13:00 PM)

    Inspirational......I love it when it comes to the barking barking barking to read this out load to someone first time...and watch them crack up as you animate the poem....Ten out of Ten .....take a B C powder and come back strong....a modern master of the highest calibre (Report) Reply

  • (4/12/2010 2:09:00 PM)

    I've always assumed the poor dog's owners were those at risk should Billy 'keep a gun...' (Report) Reply

  • (3/22/2010 4:53:00 PM)

    @joe Rock - Classical music is not for Sissies (Report) Reply

  • (2/14/2010 11:15:00 AM)

    This is neither a poem about a dog nor a gun, but - dare I suggest it? - a poem of madness. When even Beethoven cannot protect us (say it isn't so, not even Appassionata's extended coda and its own descent into mental frenzy?) and our dearly earned education leaves us unable to think our way out (Out? 'OUT, damned Spot! ') and there is the everlasting RARK! RARK! RARK! D-D-DOG sitting in our oboe section - Yes, I am wearing black and hunched over the pipes, vibrating to Bach's Toccata & Fugue in D Minor, keeping time with a major facial tic.

    And Luke, dear wonderful bright-eyed Luke: I laughed nearly as madly at Joe's resolution as that of Sir Collins.
    (Report) Reply

  • (12/15/2009 7:48:00 PM)

    Joe Rock, you took this poem way too serious. This is a humorist sharing his wretched misfortune with all of us. (Report) Reply

  • (11/15/2009 12:53:00 PM)

    Your reflection and perception of a 'Gun' inference to solve a most common
    'pestering' for Peace among neighbors, succeeds in patronizing the Pet and kindly
    tolerate their enslaved companion. Had the 'Genius' of Ancient, Activist Musicians dealt alike with tyrant, murdering 'Hecklers', such complacency would have never provided any poem's author with literary amusement. Not such as WMD technology hath ended all wars, as we were led to believe as WW 2 Veterans, There's a more simpler solution to shut down inconsiderate 'Barking'. All animals do have their birth right to communicate within hearing range. Please allow me to collaborate and share a learned solution.

    'There were Barks from the left of my fence and likened responses from the right side. Flanking from the rear were two megaphoning Dobermans, ready at Guard - An audience with faint bark applause were in harmony within ear shout distance from somewhere.'

    My call to our local trusty and loving 'Animal Control' officers had all the provokers for peace among all neighbors by the space age technology of a mild shocking 'Barking Collar'. One button depressed and the animal is trained to shut itself up and keep all we more disaplined animals happy and Loving?
    Now? What to do with the evil brains of all war mongers and fanatic, dogma barkers
    Any Ideas out there? Repectfully, Mr Collins, you are a stimulus sort of inspire,
    to say the least, Thank you!

    NYC bred
    (Report) Reply

  • (10/8/2009 12:11:00 AM)

    The title doesn't really jive with the poem, as it seems like he doesn't mind the dog enough to shoot it. Plus, the narrator sounds like a sissy who is afraid of guns and listens only to classical music. But what do you expect from Billy. Blegh. (Report) Reply

  • (8/28/2009 6:13:00 PM)

    I spoze Billy's right- humor is the best weapon! If you can't quiet the doggie, mizewell laugh about him! (Report) Reply

  • (5/17/2009 3:32:00 PM)

    Drop dead hilarious. Great to see I am not alone in this world. (Report) Reply

Read all 30 comments »

# 77 poem on top 500 Poems

User Rating:
4,1 / 5 ( 157 votes ) 30

Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?

Read poems about / on: dog, house, music, silence, time

Poem Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

[Report Error]