Between Beauty and Decadence. Denise O’Hagan


Like a shred of satin
Crumpled and creamy
It caught my eye
Lying there, near a clothes peg
Against the brick red patio.

Luminous, exposed
Halfway between beauty and decadence
With the day’s bruise already on it:
The world’s aches
Perfectly expressed
In the throwaway gift
Of a fallen petal.


Over how many ways with words
And turns of phrase, and scribbles and scrawls
Have my fingers lingered?

In getting a feeling 
For the spirit that moves
The outward, literal, form
We step into the writer’s mind
To follow the contours of their thoughts,
Only then can we dare
To shape their material 
Reinforcing the fabric of expressions
Trimming away the frills, removing padding
And shreds of ambiguity folded into phrases
Stretching sentences until they’re taut with meaning
One following on one from another
Until they all hang perfectly, pleasingly
With no loose threads,

For we editors are tailors,
(Seamstresses of old
Working in the back room of history,
Heads bowed, diligently, invisibly)
We cut and paste and nip and tuck, 
Sewing it all together
Until the point is clear.

Here, at this work,
My pen’s my needle.
I stitch in words:
This is my tapestry.

Other work by Denise O’Hagan on The Blue Nib

When Denise O’Hagan is not writing or working for The Blue Nib you will find her at Black Quill Press

About the contributor

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