New York Panorama

Life in Bangalore through the eyes of an Englishman

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The Big Bark

Startled awake in the small hours,
a crescendo of barking floods the night.
Some street-dog fight or night visitor,
alarms an insomniac domestic pet.

He sounds off, and wakes his neighbour,
who knows his voice, to join in too.
She in turn, her neighbours on each side,
jumping the street to rouse another block.

A chain reaction starts, and soon
all of the district is in uproar,
barks and howls of every sound and size.
Each dog waking another two.

There's open land between, but now
the din's enough to wake the dogs in town.
They hear the conflagration and set to.
From there, the suburbs all are doomed.

A city of barking dogs, alarmed,
and now excited by the sound of
pure dog power, become resolved.
Their owners' curses go unheeded.
It's ages till a dog gets hoarse,
and boredom's not an issue here.
Some owners win, some dogs give up,
I say goodbye to further sleep.

Gradually dogs drop out, and so it seems
the chain may break, but no.
Some cheeky little pup chimes in,
keep it up boys, this is fun.

And then, like magic, a cockerel crows,
signaling the first gray crack of dawn.
The neighboring dogs all know him, and
defer for a moment to his call.

Dogs far afield now stop to listen.
What's up? somebody's stopped. What's up?
The ripple of silence spans the city,
and so the cock's crow breaks the chain.

I sleep, woken by the cockerel later
to a city of tired sleeping dogs.
I shall be well inclined to let them lie.
They've made their point.

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