Rain Started High 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.


Rain Started High

at Hawthornden


You could see rain high

against the line of conifers

that made our horizon.


It seemed as though its waters broke –

plummeted down the trunks of trees

smashed off their branches

pooled round their bases

created a new ochre-coloured river

that plunged down the hill towards the

North Esk, the roaring of which

increased, a thousand times louder

than the yell I gave

when my waters broke

years ago, and soaked my feet.




In the gorge

the trees, afterwards,

shrugged their shoulders

of the extra water,

gripped down with roots

towards aquifers –

each and every one of them

on the strength of all this water

pretending to be



Joan McGavin