Daphnoid by Joan McGavin




Joan McGavin featured in a Peterloo Poets anthology and has poetry books from Oversteps Books: Flannelgraphs (2011) and Passing Arcadia Close (2017). A Hawthornden Fellow in 2012, she was Hampshire Poet 2014, and for thirteen years taught Creative Writing at the University of Winchester. A trustee of the Winchester Poetry Festival, she curated an anthology, Hogwords, for them in 2014. She is currently working on a third collection as part of a Ph.D. in Creative Writing from Southampton University.
























Though I’m tired

with shopping, the tree

catches my eye. 

I can’t help smiling

at my dramatic daphnoid memory:

how, near the top, stretching

for an elusive twiggy bit, while pruning,

I once fell, spreadeagle, onto it


and was upheld, branch-buoyed,

as if velcroed to vitality,

clasping the bay’s dense green

globe, needing no rescue.

All I needed to do

was step back onto the ladder,

feeling my way first with toes

of one slow gyrating foot.


Call me what you will

in Freudian terms.

I know it may never happen again

with any other tree.

I can’t help loving my old bay.

It still has me where it wants me:

heart-smitten, each time I see it,

over and again.



Joan McGavin




Rain Started High by Joan McGavin

Gilbert White Poetry Event