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Heroine [song in progress?]

December 1, 2010

Sometimes I read a poem and think it is really a song waiting for the right music. I often wonder if this is because of my passion for music and for songwriters whose lyrics can stand alone like a poem. Some songwriters, such as Leonard Cohen and Patti Smith, have proven their poetic talent independent of their music; others find a place in one of my JulieBooks because their lyrics haunt me long after the music has faded.

I read this piece as a poem, but maybe it just needs the right music. If you are a musician and can hear the song this poem is waiting for, I’d love to hear what you come up with!


I am not a heroine—
no warrior, no angel, no queen.
Sure I’m slaying some dragons
but only if they threaten me.
So if you need a rescue
don’t come knocking on my door.
Been there, done that
and the result always
leaves me more helpless than before.

I am not heroin—
not your drug, your escape, your crutch.
I’m not yours to use and abuse,
to consume until all is gone.
So if you thrive on addiction
don’t think you can squeeze me dry.
Been there, done that
and the result always
leaves me bleeding on the inside.

You taught me a lesson
and I learned it well:
Giving has a limit
but taking never ends.
You locked me in a tower
but I don’t need the key;
you left the window open
and I set myself free.

I am not a heroine—
no warrior, no angel, no queen.
But maybe the girl down the road
can see there is strength inside me
Perhaps one day she will say,
“I too can leave this mess I’m in.
Been there, done that
and the result this time
will make a heroine of me.”

—Julie Laing

You can hear me read this poem at the Kalispell Get Poetry Open Mic, thanks to the work of Mat Lee and The Jamhole. Other poems in this reading are “circles” and “Giving Up.”

39 Comments leave one →
  1. June 19, 2013 3:19 pm

    This is so powerful; I used to work in forensic psychiatry (and left…!) and this piece probably expresses how I felt about both being there and leaving than I could put into words myself! Love it!


  2. becca philipsen permalink
    January 5, 2011 6:08 pm

    julie – i absolutely loved this – it hits straight to the heart. well done, friend!


    • January 9, 2011 10:07 pm

      Thanks so much. I’ve enjoyed working on that one. It’s from the heart, so I’m glad to hear it hit home.


  3. December 12, 2010 7:23 am

    I love this poem. You have completely captured what I’ve been feeling with your words and beautiful imagery. Truly inspiring. Thank you.


    • December 16, 2010 3:24 pm

      Thanks so much–I’m happy you were able to relate to it. Keep working to find the heroine in yourself!


  4. December 8, 2010 3:27 am

    interesting… different but lovely play of words 🙂

    M here from Jingle’s Rally


    • December 8, 2010 9:47 am

      Thanks–it’s nice to hear that the wordplay hit some new notes. Good to see you in the rally!


  5. December 7, 2010 6:05 pm

    I loved it. I can hear me humming it…)

    Great write



    • December 8, 2010 9:46 am

      Thanks–I’m happy you enjoyed it. I’m working on getting some music lined up for it. You’ll have to let me know if your hum inspires something fuller!


  6. irenethebean permalink
    December 6, 2010 4:08 pm



  7. gracefulglider permalink
    December 6, 2010 12:01 pm

    wow!!!!! you tease my mind but feed my soul. literary connection!!! totally love it!


  8. December 6, 2010 1:29 am

    amazing !! And this one definitely need to be sung across boundaries of time and lands !!


    • December 6, 2010 2:34 pm

      Thanks for your feedback! I agree: It could use some music to it. Hopefully that will happen at some point.


  9. December 4, 2010 8:43 pm

    Awesome sentiment! Bravo!


  10. December 4, 2010 1:09 pm

    i love it!

    i too, like Leonard Cohen, i like his take and eye
    but for the moment, im very much into Emily Dickinson


    • December 6, 2010 2:33 pm

      Another amazing wordsmith, Ms. Dickinson. If you’re a Cohen fan, I recommend finding a copy of his “Book of Longing”; a friend gave it to me last winter, and every time I pick it up a find a new piece that strikes me. Two of my favorites in it are “You’d Sing Too” (I was inspired to write a poem after reading it; I write about this and share the poem at and “His Master’s Voice.”


  11. December 4, 2010 3:53 am

    very beautiful, you are a heroine of poetry!


  12. Trevor D'silva permalink
    December 4, 2010 2:15 am

    Haha!!…It is a kinda song!! Work on the tune, I’m sure you’ll hit bang on! Nice words!!


    • December 6, 2010 2:23 pm

      Thanks, Trevor. I’ve never been much of a songwriter (the music portion), but I’m hoping someone else will take an interest in putting this one to music.


  13. December 3, 2010 3:30 pm

    Julie, I love the play on heroin/heroine and I agree that it could work quite nicely set to music. I hope someone discovers it. In the advertising section of “Writer’s Digest,” there’s always song writers looking for lyrics.


    • December 3, 2010 10:31 pm

      Thanks, Victoria–I had fun working with that bit of wordplay. And I’ll have to check out the “Writer’s Digest” tip. I have a couple of musician friends locally who are playing around with this piece as a lyric, but both are male and may have to seek an outside vocalist to make it work; it would be fun to have a female songwriter take a crack at it.


  14. December 3, 2010 1:21 am

    WOOOOWWWWW. I ABSOLUTELY LOVE THIS! You are a great writer.


  15. December 2, 2010 8:34 am

    wow love that.. very awesome for sure


  16. December 2, 2010 6:04 am

    I’ve been squeezed dry twice and set myself free, there will never be a third time.

    Wonderful poem, so well expressed.



  17. Jingle permalink
    December 1, 2010 8:06 pm

    love the details you get yourself into.
    very well defined poem.
    Thanks for sharing it with poets rally.


  18. December 1, 2010 6:44 pm

    I am not a musician however but I do agree it “reads” like a song!
    thanks for this awesome piece and I shall nomitate you this week 🙂


    • December 3, 2010 10:08 pm

      Thanks so much–for the encouragement and the nomination! I’m glad you enjoyed this one.


  19. December 1, 2010 6:28 pm

    Wonderful words =) We will all find the strength and courage we need as time passed by, I am sure 🙂



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