at Hawthornden

On the phone as I walk through
heavy rain, up the long drive,
I’m surprised by deer, first two

larger, then a small one arrives
with a stumble, leaps back
out of my path, dives

towards me again with such a lack
of certitude that it veers
all ways at once, then taken aback

goes headlong under trees, careers
over grass, to disappear
as fast as it can into the sheer

encroaching dark. Near,
in the hollow where the hind
couched, grass springs up clear

of the ditch, and, halted, I find
the aura of three gentle panics
is here, and gone, behind

the oaks — and your voice
is in my hand

Joan McGavin