I love these animals with their wet noses, floppy ears, and wagging tails, but I hate it when dogs bark and bark and bark, especially late at night when I’m trying to sleep. It’s not the dog’s fault. Owners leave their four-legged pets in the yard unattended while they go out or go to bed, although how they can sleep with their canine companions barking non-stop is beyond me. If you were left by yourself with nothing to do but bark, wouldn’t you be bored?
This phenomenon inspired the following two poems from How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver. Click on the link below the poems to hear me sing a song about a dog I’m sure you’ll recognize. I hope you’re enjoying the so-called dog days of summer.
What makes a dog bark?
It’s something in the canine’s anatomy.
Why do dogs bark?
They’re excited, welcoming visitors,
warding off predators.
Why do dogs bark late at night?
They’re left in the yard unattended.
Lonely, bored, cold,
once they’re done relieving themselves,
they don’t know what else to do
but make an incessant noise that grates on one’s nerves for hours
until silenced by human intervention.
Is poetry like a barking dog?
In some ways, it is.
You read a poem, and you’re stimulated—
but a bad poem can grate on your nerves
like a barking dog in the middle of the night.
Life is “ruff,” isn’t it?
I Dream of Murder at Sunrise
I enter the yard,
having been kept awake by the incessant barking.
I feel sorry for the pooch, left unattended.
It approaches me, tail wagging in welcome.
As I stroke the white, shaggy head,
I look toward the house for signs of life.
The dog sniffs my pocket.
I remove and unwrap a small portion of hamburger
with a generous amount of rat poison kneaded into the meat.
This will put the poor thing out of its misery, and mine, I think,
as I toss it on the ground.
The hound devours it,
lies down, closes its eyes,
is gone forever.