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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

  • Diane Margolis 3/29/2020 3:25:00 PM

    I wonder if I didn’t have a neighbor
    With a pair of barking dogs
    Whether I would have so enjoyed
    “Another Reason Why I Don’t Keep A Gun In The House.”

    Guess I have to be grateful for those dogs
    Who drove me up a wall
    so I could smile with a poem
    and thank it’s author.

    3 person liked.
    5 person did not like.
  • Chris 11/6/2019 1:36:00 AM

    So don’t do anything rash and tell him Reply

    2 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • Oshank 9/26/2019 6:29:00 AM

    He was very good and his poems very help us. Reply

    2 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • Michael Walker 9/19/2019 9:22:00 PM

    A dog barking for a long time is very annoying, and common among close neighbours.
    The dog can keep you awake at night or annoy you in the morning. So much better to listen to Beethoven.
    A fine poem of urban life.

    1 person liked.
    2 person did not like.
  • Jane Campion 6/24/2019 3:47:00 PM

    We all know the feeling when we are disturbed. Reply

    2 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • Edward Kofi Louis 6/24/2019 10:23:00 AM

    Guns and roses!

    Better pick up the roses and forget about the guns! ! ! !

    🤗📚🎓🖊 Thanks for sharing this poem with us.

    3 person liked.
    2 person did not like.
  • Ratnakar Mandlik 6/24/2019 6:49:00 AM

    A great soliloquy, in the lighter vein perhaps, giving the reason for not keeping a gun in the house a the irritant of the neighbors barking dog may compel him to use that gun. A great modern poem of the Day. Reply

    1 person liked.
    2 person did not like.
  • Kumarmani Mahakul 6/24/2019 3:08:00 AM

    A brilliant poem nicely executed. It is justified for selecting modern poem of as the poem of day. Congratulation. Reply

    2 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • Sylvia Frances Chan 6/24/2019 1:40:00 AM

    Addition: Last 11 March 2018 this poem was chosen as TMPOTD, WOW! Double Congrats from me, Billy. Reply

    0 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • Sylvia Frances Chan 6/24/2019 1:33:00 AM

    AND what I did not realize was This Poem is chosen as THE MODERN POEM OF TODAY 24 JUNE 2019. Hurray!
    CONGRATULATIONS, Dear BILLY, being chosen by POEM HUNTER and TEAM as TMPOTD Celebrations at your home. God's Blessings in Abundance.

    0 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
Read all 60 comments »
House Poems
  1. 1. Another Reason Why I Don'T Keep A Gun In..
    Billy Collins
  2. 2. I Go Back To The House For A Book
    Billy Collins
  3. 3. Ghost House
    Robert Frost
  4. 4. The House With Nobody In It
    Joyce Kilmer
  5. 5. Morning In The Burned House
    Margaret Atwood
  6. 6. A House Upon The Height
    Emily Dickinson
  7. 7. A Baby In The House
    Ella Wheeler Wilcox
  8. 8. The House Was Quiet And The World Was Calm
    Wallace Stevens
  9. 9. The House On The Hill
    Edwin Arlington Robinson
  10. 10. The House
    Charles Bukowski
  11. 11. House On A Cliff
    Louis Macneice
  12. 12. The Harlot's House
    Oscar Wilde
  13. 13. Enter This Deserted House
    Shel Silverstein
  14. 14. An Angel In The House
    James Henry Leigh Hunt
  15. 15. The Bustle In A House
    Emily Dickinson
  16. 16. The White House
    Claude McKay
  17. 17. Tor House
    Robinson Jeffers
  18. 18. Verses Upon The Burning Of Our House, Ju..
    Anne Bradstreet
  19. 19. Here Follows Some Verses Upon The Burnin..
    Anne Bradstreet
  20. 20. The House Of Fortune Iii
    Khalil Gibran
  21. 21. The Deserted House
    Alfred Lord Tennyson
  22. 22. The Bustle In A House
    Emily Dickinson
  23. 23. From The House Of Life The Sonnet
    Dante Gabriel Rossetti
  24. 24. Doom Is The House Without The Door
    Emily Dickinson
  25. 25. In The House Of Suddhoo
    Rudyard Kipling
  26. 26. The House Of Clouds
    Elizabeth Barrett Browning
  27. 27. A Poem About George Doty In The Death Ho..
    James Arlington Wright
  28. 28. A Prayer On Going Into My House
    William Butler Yeats
  29. 29. The New House
    Edward Thomas
  30. 30. The City Dead-House
    Walt Whitman
  31. 31. The Father's House
    Li-Young Lee
  32. 32. The House In The Woods
    Randall Jarrell
  33. 33. A Thanksgiving To God, For His House
    Robert Herrick
  34. 34. The Half-Way House
    Gerard Manley Hopkins
  35. 35. In Arthur's House
    William Morris
  36. 36. The House Of Hospitalities
    Thomas Hardy
  37. 37. The Dark House
    Edwin Arlington Robinson
  38. 38. The Haunted House
    Thomas Hood
  39. 39. (026) Topsy Turvy House.......(My F..
    Risha Ahmed (12 yrs)
  40. 40. The Poor House
    Sara Teasdale
  41. 41. Ballad Of Fisher's Boarding-House
    Rudyard Kipling
  42. 42. The House Of Christmas
    Gilbert Keith Chesterton
  43. 43. On A Ruined House In A Romantic Country
    Samuel Taylor Coleridge
  44. 44. Deaf House Agent
    Katherine Mansfield
  45. 45. The Dark House
    Siegfried Sassoon
  46. 46. One Sister Have I In Our House
    Emily Dickinson
  47. 47. The House
    Philip Levine
  48. 48. Inscriptions For A Friend's House
    Henry Van Dyke
  49. 49. House Of Silence
    Philip Levine
  50. 50. Lake House Morning
    Linda Ori

House Poems

  1. The House With Nobody In It

    Whenever I walk to Suffern along the Erie track I go by a poor old farmhouse with its shingles broken and black. I suppose I've passed it a hundred times, but I always stop for a minute And look at the house, the tragic house, the house with nobody in it. I never have seen a haunted house, but I hear there are such things; That they hold the talk of spirits, their mirth and sorrowings. I know this house isn't haunted, and I wish it were, I do; For it wouldn't be so lonely if it had a ghost or two. This house on the road to Suffern needs a dozen panes of glass, And somebody ought to weed the walk and take a scythe to the grass. It needs new paint and shingles, and the vines should be trimmed and tied; But what it needs the most of all is some people living inside. If I had a lot of money and all my debts were paid I'd put a gang of men to work with brush and saw and spade. I'd buy that place and fix it up the way it used to be And I'd find some people who wanted a home and give it to them free. Now, a new house standing empty, with staring window and door, Looks idle, perhaps, and foolish, like a hat on its block in the store. But there's nothing mournful about it; it cannot be sad and lone For the lack of something within it that it has never known. But a house that has done what a house should do, a house that has sheltered life, That has put its loving wooden arms around a man and his wife, A house that has echoed a baby's laugh and held up his stumbling feet, Is the saddest sight, when it's left alone, that ever your eyes could meet. So whenever I go to Suffern along the Erie track I never go by the empty house without stopping and looking back, Yet it hurts me to look at the crumbling roof and the shutters fallen apart, For I can't help thinking the poor old house is a house with a broken heart.

  2. I Go Back To The House For A Book

    I turn around on the gravel and go back to the house for a book, something to read at the doctor’s office, and while I am inside, running the finger of inquisition along a shelf, another me that did not bother to go back to the house for a book heads out on his own, rolls down the driveway, and swings left toward town, a ghost in his ghost car, another knot in the string of time, a good three minutes ahead of me— a spacing that will now continue for the rest of my life. Sometimes I think I see him a few people in front of me on a line or getting up from a table to leave the restaurant just before I do, slipping into his coat on the way out the door. But there is no catching him, no way to slow him down and put us back in synch, unless one day he decides to go back to the house for something, but I cannot imagine for the life of me what that might be. He is out there always before me, blazing my trail, invisible scout, hound that pulls me along, shade I am doomed to follow, my perfect double, only bumped an inch into the future, and not nearly as well-versed as I in the love poems of Ovid— I who went back to the house that fateful winter morning and got the book.

  3. Ghost House

    I dwell in a lonely house I know That vanished many a summer ago, And left no trace but the cellar walls, And a cellar in which the daylight falls, And the purple-stemmed wild raspberries grow. O'er ruined fences the grape-vines shield The woods come back to the mowing field; The orchard tree has grown one copse Of new wood and old where the woodpecker chops; The footpath down to the well is healed. I dwell with a strangely aching heart In that vanished abode there far apart On that disused and forgotten road That has no dust-bath now for the toad. Night comes; the black bats tumble and dart; The whippoorwill is coming to shout And hush and cluck and flutter about: I hear him begin far enough away Full many a time to say his say Before he arrives to say it out. It is under the small, dim, summer star. I know not who these mute folk are Who share the unlit place with me-- Those stones out under the low-limbed tree Doubtless bear names that the mosses mar. They are tireless folk, but slow and sad, Though two, close-keeping, are lass and lad,-- With none among them that ever sings, And yet, in view of how many things, As sweet companions as might be had.

  4. Morning In The Burned House

    In the burned house I am eating breakfast. You understand: there is no house, there is no breakfast, yet here I am. The spoon which was melted scrapes against the bowl which was melted also. No one else is around. Where have they gone to, brother and sister, mother and father? Off along the shore, perhaps. Their clothes are still on the hangers, their dishes piled beside the sink, which is beside the woodstove with its grate and sooty kettle, every detail clear, tin cup and rippled mirror. The day is bright and songless, the lake is blue, the forest watchful. In the east a bank of cloud rises up silently like dark bread. I can see the swirls in the oilcloth, I can see the flaws in the glass, those flares where the sun hits them. I can't see my own arms and legs or know if this is a trap or blessing, finding myself back here, where everything in this house has long been over, kettle and mirror, spoon and bowl, including my own body, including the body I had then, including the body I have now as I sit at this morning table, alone and happy, bare child's feet on the scorched floorboards (I can almost see) in my burning clothes, the thin green shorts and grubby yellow T-shirt holding my cindery, non-existent, radiant flesh. Incandescent.