Denise O’Hagan – Be-mused – 4

by Denise O’Hagan

Poetry turns on a pause
In a champagne conversation,
Flickers into being in the space
Between the starter and the main course,
And glides you through
Satin silences.

And when you get home
You try to write it down
You fidget and frown
Refuse to give up
Start to get angry
And then you realise,
Hitting the dead-end of concentration,
That those squirls you’ve made
Even the doodles
Snaking towards the margin
Are taking you somewhere:
They’re luminous,
And those hesitant hieroglyphics
Scraped out by your biro
Against a pale page
Are numinous,
Slowing you down
Until you can see
The shape of your sentences
Rise above their own meaning,
Opening you upTo the music behind
What’s said.

It’s not the clink of crystal
At the cocktail party
Nor the silken conversation
Between black suits or pearl’d dresses,
It’s in the ensuing fold of stillness
Where poetry 


Denise O’Hagan is an editor by trade. Born in Italy, she lived in the UK before emigrating to Australia. She holds an MA in Bibliography and Textual Criticism and has a background in publishing. She works as a freelance editor with independent authors and is Poetry Editor for Australia and New Zealand for The Blue Nib. Her poetry is published in various literary journals including New Reader Magazine, Other Terrain, Down in the Dirt, Scarlet Leaf Review and Poetica Review. She was commended in the Australian Catholic University Poetry Prize (2018) and shortlisted for the Robert Graves Poetry Prize (2018).