“Another Reason Why I Don’t Keep a Gun in the House” by Billy Collins – Analysis and Poem

Synopsis

“Another Reason Why I Don’t Keep a Gun in the House” is the title of the poem, but unlike most writings, the phrase isn’t included within. Instead, the title is meant as a way to show the readers his frustrations which may or may not be obvious to the reader from the writing.

The poem begins by the author talking about the neighbors’ dog barking and how the dog continues to bark every time the owners leave. He continues on about how he closes his windows and puts on a Beethoven symphony and loudly plays it. Regardless, he still hears the dog barking. He then imagines the dog sitting in the oboe section of an orchestra, barking out the symphony while the dog stares at the conductor. When the author’s record stops playing, he states that the dog is still barking and the musicians are silent, still listening to the dog bark out his solo.

Analysis

The title of this poem speaks volumes about the author’s feelings towards the dog. He’s essentially stating that if he had a gun, he’d probably go over to his neighbors’ house and kill it because it will never stop barking. The rest of the poem simply speaks about the dog barking continuously and never stopping.

Poem: “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.

Gary R. Hess

Gary was born and raised on a small farm in rural Kansas. Today, he is teaching various nationalities English in Southeast Asia.

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