Meredith Davies Hadaway is a woman with a profession (Vice President for College Relations and Marketing at Washington College in Maryland) and a poet with permission. Her self-granted authorization is to simply sit and think. She has been quoted as saying, “We all have so much going on. We can’t remember things because we never really experienced them. Slowing down to think is essential.”
Because her father taught her navigation and sailing skills, she has been forever blessed with a place on the river. In the midst of America’s birthday celebration, when so many of us take to the waters, she shares the product of that place and the time to think with us all.
So many summers since my father
sat beside me on a stone bench. A warm
night. We watched the pulsing stars at
the river’s curve.
He tried to tell me about lights and navigation,
though I never understood red right returning—
because for it to work, you have to
know if you’re coming or going.
Red sky at night, he said, on a different
evening, as we carried drinks
to the patio for another round of
explanations. And then just once—and never
again—it happened exactly the way
he said it would:
Silent, except the ice cubes’ quiet
stutter in the gin while the sun bore its own
witness. I saw the lozenge burning where
the earth turns away from us.
Felt the density beneath, the bending
in the thinner, higher layers.
The upper limb, my father called it, right
before its final flex at the tip
of what is visible: a last scattering,
a blaze of green.
from The River is a Reason, by Meredith Davies Hadaway
Meredith Davies Hadaway is the author of two poetry collections, “The River is a Reason” and “Fishing Secrets of the Dead.” In addition to publishing poems and reviews in various literary journals, she serves as poetry editor for “The Summerset Review.” Hadaway is VP for College Relations & Marketing for Washington College. Her website is http://mdh.washcoll.edu/index.php