Poetry | A Newer Wilderness by Nicola Healey


Nicola Healey

A Newer Wilderness

‘But Light a newer Wilderness / My Wilderness has made –’
– Emily Dickinson

There is a world
that must lie, always, just beneath
and around the corner from
things as they are.

Where the moon is more moonly,
birdsong almost hurts
and words leap out of their
lettery shells.

Each articulate leaf
and irradiated cloud appears in relief, pristine
as newly minted coins.

Incessant thoughts, a murder
of circling crows, are gone
and the head is bright and clear.

All things
down to your charged cells hum
with strength and purpose –

their surety. Every thing
is simply involved – reaches towards you
out of chaos: cooperates.

It’s lonely to live on
With everything,
knowing what it can be.

The fiery centre is encrypted again;
the world a sphinx.
I am in exile at home.

It is as though the earth
was happy with me,
and now it’s not

Some blessed admittance has ceased
                          from an eternal pact


Nicola Healey’s poems have appeared in The Poetry Review, PN Review, Poetry Ireland Review, The Rialto and Wild Court, among other places. She won the PBS Metro Poetry Prize 2021 and was a runner-up in the Ginkgo Prize for Ecopoetry 2020. She is the author of Dorothy Wordsworth and Hartley Coleridge: The Poetics of Relationship (Palgrave Macmillan, 2012).

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