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.

Analysis, meaning and summary of Billy Collins's poem Another Reason Why I Don’t Keep A Gun In The House


  1. Simon says:

    This poem is so simple, yet so creative.

  2. Londa Wilson says:

    I can see this so clearly. I can even hear it. Wonderfully funny.


  3. mohammad says:

    Hi Mr collins
    I read it and enjoy very much.and I put it on my percian weblog.
    Ican only tell that it is wonderfull.
    best wishes

  4. Andre says:

    I got a barking neighbour dog. I build my own dog training device. I have an air mattress pump running on 110V that pumps air for two Remington Silent Dog Whistles. The pump is rolled into bubble wrap and stuffed inside a 3/4 gallon water container to lessen the noise from the pump. The pump costed $20 from Walmart. Dog whistles $7 each from PetSmart store. Water jar $4. Then a remotely controlled 110V outlet so I can turn the compressor ON/OFF from my remote key fob. My belief is that the dual whistles produces a more annoying and far reaching sound than the ultrasound gadgets offered online. Especially the ramp up and down of the pump gives a sweep of frequencies. Two barks is a 2 seconds run, the three barks in a row is rewarded with longer pumping or dbl-clicks.

  5. ea says:

    It all sounds so complicated. Why don’t you just move back to Transylvania to escape the dogs. Or do they have dogs there, too. I forget.

  6. Jim K. says:

    I have this neighbor who has a dog STOP who also keeps me up at night STOP so I am going to send him a telegram STOP a SINGING TELEGRAM STOP and maybe then he will understand that STOP Beethoven can roll over better than I can STOP

  7. valoa robinson says:

    since most of us are…aflicted with such night sounds..I am
    relieved to discover that I am not the only one to want to
    muzzle the barking with a round of gun, circled by…Beethoven…or Wagner…or some other noisey one…
    and gratitude that… someone wrote it before me so I
    at least can refer to this that is better… than mine…

    all hail to Billy Collins…

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