Happy Birthday

It’s Shakespeare’s official birthday today and, in celebration, William and Jack’s school had a poetry recitation.  William recited a poem by Billy Collins that really cracks me up, so I am giving it to you today, in honor of both William, the son, and William, the writer of all those sonnets, and comedies, and tragedies and histories and the other plays which are harder to classify, and also in honor of Poetry Month in general.

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.

Billy Collins

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7 thoughts on “Happy Birthday

  1. A nine year old boy? Hmmmm… I’m even more impressed. It’s a terrific poem, funny, and ironic. In addition to my wordpress blog, I maintain a blog over at Weather Underground and have a good number of readers who are passionately devoted to their dogs. Would your son mind my reprinting the poem there in its entirety, with a link back to your page? I’m afraid if I just include the link some of them would be too lazy to follow, but if that’s what you prefer, that would be fine, too.

  2. I just saw your Submissions page, and smiled. I celebrated my one-year blogoversay last week at Uncle Henry’s in Moon Lake, Mississippi, an establishment which Tennessee Williams turned into Moon Lake Casino in many of his plays.
    When I saw your comment that the submissions page wasn’t meant to be a downer, but simply a record of what persistence looks like, it made me happy. Persistence was the theme of my very first blog, and persistence as success the theme of my current entry. I generally don’t recommend my own stuff, but I do think you’d get a kick out of The View from Uncle Henry’s.

    I’ve enjoyed looking around, and will be back.

  3. Hi Shoreacres and welcome!

    Oh, that is one very, very sloppy post I’ve written! A nine year old boy did NOT write that poem — well, except to the extent Billy Collins channels the nine year old in him when he writes, which he very well must do, because my sons all love his poetry. I see how you could think that, though, and I’ve edited that post so it’s clear that William, for all his many skills and talents, isn’t producing poetry that sophisticated.
    And I’m so glad you enjoyed the submissions page, which has been quiet for the last month, because I’m writing, writing, writing (or trying to) and not sending things out just yet. Now, I’m off to see all about Uncle Henry’s! And I look forward to seeing you again here, and on your blog. xoxo, L

  4. OK – all clarified! But I’m still impressed that your sons like the poetry, and am happy their enjoyment got Billy Collins here, because I’d never heard of him. Now I have someone else to learn about – always a good thing.

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