Just a cup 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 worked on a third collection as part of a Ph.D. in Creative Writing from Southampton University, awarded in 2020.






















Just a cup











…. of orange juice is all the child asks

so here’s the little mug we keep for him.


Present from a Dutch friend, painted blue on white:

a pattern of windmills, clogs, a twee girl and boy


who lean to kiss each other.  It somehow

just escapes being tat, is glazed inside and out.


I place it beside him, hear myself warn

about spills…  and picture other children


riding bikes, hidden in secret places, anxious

about the next meal, skating on thin ice


and accusing us with their eyes as they sit

outside crumbling schools, lost playing fields —


worried how to fathom ways

of holding back the sea’s big thirst.


Joan McGavin





Daphnoid by Joan McGavin

Rain Started High by Joan McGavin