Bob Hart is a regular reader at the Pink Pony Express open-mic, a reading series in the Village. A tall, gaunt, grey-haired man, Bob is always courteous in a way that strikes me as old-worldly. His poems are philosophical in approach, meditative in tone, and the best of them achieve a sweet gravity. I heard him read "To a She" 2 weeks ago, and loved it. Bob was kind enough to handwrite a copy for me, and to give me permission to share it on my blog.
To a She or a General They
There's less a barrier
between you and me today
than there was yesterday
--maybe a few minutes ago--
perhaps because space or I
am more alive.
I am not less evil I'm afraid
though I'd love to be good
which is to say
I'd love to treat you with the pure respect
affinity considers it should tender
to softness and loftiness
clothed in the pride beyond body.
I shouldn't make you
less than you
nor even for my power's and my
pleasure's sake should I
be less than me.
But my being evilly
less than myself
might please you were you
less than yourself
or vast enough to dive from pride
and rise again to goddess.
I could begin the thought I thought
not say that you
are unlike anyone in this or
any other universe (although you
may be) only
that, as I said, there's less a barrier
between the I and you today;
no matter why
if you have gained in beingness
and so have I.
This makes the world a finer thing--
each silver sun on leaf or silver
Call this a voice from deeper well
whose other voices yours or mine
need not disturb us now (nor how
as white light prisms into hues
that you bright center prism into
multiples and magnitudes
of moods nor
how thickly many--seen or unseen--
there might be
nor how again
the order of their colorings
Many beautiful things in this poem, not least the negatives (nor, not, no, un-) which not only discriminate and qualify, but also embody the "less" of barrier.