The Barking of the Dog by Martin J. Elster

The Barking of the Dog

Why is the world so focused on the barking of the dog
. . . .when the cosmos quakes with rattling station wagons,
huge mowers moaning, blowers droning, tools that cruelly dig,
. . . .motorbikes that scream like raving dragons,

rigs rumbling over potholes, doors maniacally banging,
. . . .jackhammers gouging roads that throb and rock,
jet aircraft booming, sirens yowling, railroad crossings clanging,
. . . .the ice-cream trucks that drift down every block

repeating “Turkey in the Straw” or “Do Your Ears Hang Low”?
. . . .While mobs engage in age-old sports like shouting,
while firecrackers burst and chainsaws roar and roosters crow,
. . . .while gangs wage war upon the ghetto, shooting,

there comes a more abhorrent noise, a din without cessation,
. . . .begun at dawn and going even now,
a strange and strident racket causing serious vexation—
. . . .the voice of misery, going “bow-wow-wow.”

by Martin J. Elster

Editor’s Note: A list of frustrating sounds almost masks the central theme of this poem, so eloquently presented in the final line.


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