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May Morning by Nicola Healey

A sudden smell of cress

in this corner of the garden –

fresh dampness, green warmth.

A dew-rinsed earthiness.

The smell of germination.

The day hasn’t yet had time to sag

under its own freight. All is

newly alive.

White lilacs over there – a few petals

just starting to brown, but for now

they foam with plumes of scent,

like waves bubbling on a shoreline.

I am breaking out of a tomb.

I know it won’t last – this grace;

but today, I’m free.


Nicola Healey’s poems have been published in The Poetry Review, PN Review, Poetry Ireland Review, The London Magazine and The Rialto, among other places. She won the PBS Metro Poetry Prize 2021 and was a runner-up in the Ginkgo Prize for Ecopoetry 2020.


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