Bark not oh dog of dogs, my dog.
Bark not at the full moon that glows with eerie light upon field and fen.
Bark not at the cricket, oh dog,
Nor bark at the screech owl.
Bark not at the neighbor who dares to crunch tires in her gravelly drive,
Nor at her voice when she doth converse.
Bark not at the neighbor’s dogs, nor at her Guinea hens,
nor shall you bark at the feral cat beneath the shed.
Bark not at the dishwasher, lo its squeak shall send fear unto your ears.
Bark not at these, the simple noises of night.
Nor bark in the day, at the UPS truck, nor at the FedEx truck,
though both shall drive very fast and disgorge their wares unto the back porch.
Bark not at bicycles, nor those that ride upon them.
Bark not at joggers, nor bark even at the rude weekenders
with horses on our front lawn.
Bark not at your ball on top of the refrigerator, nor at your Frisbee also there,
for this shall not cause us to play, only to anger and annoy us.
At the calves escaped from the neighbor’s field, you may bark,
for that is good and useful.
At the bear raiding the dumpster, you may bark, if you dare.
Also you may bark when friends arrive, and strangers too,
though only once, and politely, then shall you sit quietly and greet them.
At true dangers such as you may hear, and we not, you may bark,
but you shall not bark all morning, nor all afternoon.
These, my dog of dogs, oh dog, and other rules, as we may reveal unto you, must you follow, as long as you shall live free, and here among us. For though it saddens us greatly, we shall upon occasion place you, without recourse, into your crate, where you shall stay as we enjoy the peace we require.
In faith, your humans.
— Dabney Kirchman