Another Reason Why I Don't Keep a Gun in the House

Another Reason Why I Don't Keep A Gun In The House

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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 - Stephen Pinkowski

Mr. Collins is obviously annoyed with the barking dog next door.  I can relate to this poem, as I would try to suppress the noise of a next door neighbor’s dog as well. The poet turns the annoyance of the dog, into a playful and humorous event, placing the barking dog into Beethoven’s orchestra.  The title is referring to the notion that if he had a gun in the house, he would most likely go next door, and kill the dog. I’m guessing he would regret his decision afterwards, so he decides not to keep a gun in the house all together. The title definitely catches the reader’s attention, in the fact that it is humorous, and just an odd title. The repetition of certain phrases, such as “The neighbors’ dog will not stop barking”, stresses to the reader really how annoying this dog must be. It also seems like that no right-minded artist would ever put a dog into one of his symphony’s, yet when the reader see’s that a dog is in Beethoven’s symphony, and a solo part at that, that it must be automatically accepted and applauded, because it is Beethoven.  The way Collins handles this problem through his imagination, creates a new way for him to handle it in a non-violent manner. I think if he did indeed have a gun in his household the dog would die, so not even owning a gun, takes the temptation out of the picture. You can relate to this if you were on a diet, and someone bought a pint of ice cream and stuck it in the freezer. The temptation would be there, and it would most likely turn out badly, resulting in that person eating the ice cream and ruining their diet. On that note, Billy Collins relieves his temptation by not even owning a firearm.