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A Response to Rumi

A Response to Rumi

– by Barbara Heagy – July 22, 2018 – 


Not Here

– by Rumi –

There’s courage involved if you want
–         to become truth
There is a broken-open place in a lover.

Where are those qualities of bravery and
–         and sharp compassion?
What’s the use of old and frozen thought?

I want a howling hurt.
This is not a treasury where gold is stored;
–         this is for copper.

We alchemists look for talent that can heat
–         up and change.
Lukewarm won’t do.

Half-hearted holding back, well-enough
–         getting by?
Not here.

child screaming










Not Me

– by Barbara Heagy –

Oh, Rumi,
I do not want to hear this right now.
Don’t speak to me about bravery and sharp
–         compassion.
I have had howling hurt
And it sucks.

I have stood strong and full of courage
“Turn and face the lions,” I said.
But the lions’ roaring pains my eardrums,
Their carnivorous breath makes me faint.
Their enormous, overpowering size tires me
–         as I pace the cage with them.

Copper and gold are not for me.
I have accumulated a treasure house of such
–         so-called riches.
Give me sun.
Give me breath.
God, give me pastrami.
Anything but more of your precious metals.

I am not half-hearted.
I am empty-hearted
Facing your sizzling ovens
–         that shape the soul.

Empty-hearted, holding back,
I am now just well-enough and getting by.

Your challenge has depleted me,
Frozen my thoughts into debilitating ideas
–         of “I can do this.
–         –         This will be good for me.”

Well, F’ you, Rumi.
I walk away from this challenge.
I’ve given at the office, thank you.

Artist Statement – Barbara Heagy

My poem “Not Me”was written in response to the poet Rumi’s poem “Not Here” at Kat McNichol’s “Writing to Heal” workshop in Eden Mills.

When the poem was introduced to us by Kat, I had such a negative internal response that I decided I should just deal with it in a written response. The result, created in five minutes, showed me the level of anger and weariness I had in dealing with the grief of my deceased husband and love of my life.

Barbara HeagyAbout the Author – Barbara Heagy

Barbara Heagy is the author of the inspirational memoir 10 – A Story of Love, Life, and Loss and co-author of Good Grief People, an anthology of stories and poems about grief and hope. Since the age of seventeen, she has been filling empty journals and notebooks with her thoughts, musing, and life experiences, while writing plays, poetry, essays, and stories that reflect life issues. Barbara lives in southern Ontario, Canada. She can be reached through her blog/website at, her Facebook site at or email address at

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