Teaching the Inner Couplets of one Rumi Has left me truly desolate and gloomy. They say he’s great, this Sufi poet Rumi, But frankly, it is most astounding to me That anyone can read the text of Rumi Without becoming gaunt and pale and rheumy. Old Shakespeare might have cried aloud, “Beshrew me! I never read such drivel as this Rumi!” So give me a damned break, please, and just clue me In on why this whirling dervish Rumi Is so praised and adulated. Who, me? Teach the gnostic blather of this Rumi? Not anymore. So next semester, sue me— I will not teach this drooling mystic Rumi. Let ’em read the crackpot weirdo Rumi In places where the weather is simoomy Like Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, or Bakhshtumi, Where storms will come, all thunderous and boomy, And sweep him to pits sepulchral, dark and tomby. That’s the best place for all the work of Rumi. Joseph S. Salemi has published five books of poetry, and his poems, translations and scholarly articles have appeared in over one hundred publications world-wide. He is the editor of the literary magazine Trinacria. He teaches in the Department of Humanities at New York University and in the Department of Classical Languages at Hunter College.