Poetry Porch: Poetry


Improving the Golden Rule
by Diana Der-Hovanessian

"“Do unto others before they do to you”
you said. “The rule can be simplified.
All contracts should be regularly reviewed

as ethics. Don’t forget that virtue
depends on which side is your side.
Don’t do what will be blamed on you.”

“I won’t, if you won’t” is a shorter view
of negative reciprocity, saving pride,
a set of contracts one can or should review

frequently. Mutual consent is the very new
moral code to adhere to or unglue open-eyed;
“I won’t talk if you are silent too.”

The Golden Rule silvered, slivered, a few
changes emphasize “perhaps” and “might”,
a set of contracts to redo, review:

“I will only if you will too.”
Conditional consent: weighs side with side.
Do unto others before they do to you.
Do unto others what they do to you.

Copyright © 2002 by Diana Der-Hovanessian.
First appeared in Agni. Reprinted from The Burning Glass by Diana Der-Hovanessian. Riverdale-on-Hudson, NY: Sheep Meadow Press, 2002.