Thursday, August 13, 2020

New Poetry by Denise O'Hagan

Rosedale, New Year’s Eve

I saw my memories burn up
On the seven o’clock news last night
In a confluence of heat and wind
And swept away in a wall of red.

In the thick, dirty-laundry light
Swathes of metal, dull as mustard
Lie draped like outsize sheets
Over an ashen ground.

The heavy silence stretches,
Hemming me in a world in waiting,
The kookaburra’s cry a memory,
The goanna in the garden gone.

The corner of a protruding brick
Anchors me, in seconds, to
My awkward ten-year old self,
Apartment-reared, cramped by old-world ways.

Squinting in the early morning light,
Tentative in the face of so much space,
I slipped and stubbed my toe against a brick:
A sharp intake of breath decades ago.

Shards of childhood curl in on themselves
Huddling in corrugated contortions
And nestling between clumps of rubble
Like frightened puppies.

Politicians parry, prance and pirouette
Walking the tightrope of their ambition,
Clownish in their ineptitude:
No one’s taken in any more.

The bush burns, the tide turns
And the world holds its breath.

- © Denise O'Hagan 2020

(Written in the aftermath of the burning up of the poet's cousins’ family home in Bateman’s Bay, 2019.)

Denise O’Hagan was born in Rome and lives in Sydney. She has a background in commercial book publishing, works as an editor through her own imprint Black Quill Press, and is Poetry Editor for Australia/New Zealand for Irish literary journal The Blue Nib. Her poetry is published widely and has received numerous awards. Her debut poetry collection The Beating Heart is published by Ginninderra Press (August 2020).  

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