The Spy Holiday Poem: Heron & Harp by Meredith Davies Hadaway


The Spy continues our tradition in sharing the best of local poetry as our way to celebrate this holiday season. Once again, we turn to Chestertown’s very gifted Meredith Davies Hadaway for this special poem entitled Heron & Harp  which includes her performance on harp and photographs.

The Chestertown Spy editors, writers, and volunteers send our best Seasons Greetings and best wishes for a wonderful new year.

This video is approximately one minute in length


I drag my harp across the gapped

terrain of pier—a hundred feet with nothing

underfoot but slats of air and swirling tide—


and place the harp in front of me to play

“The Water Is Wide,” a sort of joke here,

where the channel is so narrow.


A few notes into the song: a squawk.

Flying low, a heron glides across

the river’s edge to land beside me.


Head tucked so he can stare me down

from his perch on a piling—


summoned by the strange cascade of frequencies—

or did he mistake the arching frame for another

large and gawky bird?


I keep the tune going, a slow air

we would call it, as the oscillations rise,

and then retreat, leaving


song and bird, the harp and me suspended

in a pulse, a wave, a measure

where the water is wide enough

to hold us all.


—from At the Narrows © Word Poetry, 2015

Meredith Davies Hadaway is the author of three poetry collections, including At the Narrows, winner of the 2015 Delmarva Book Prize for Creative Writing.


Letters to Editor

  1. David LaMotte says:

    Already knew and loved this poem, but so happy to have this beautiful reading of it. Thank you, Meredith, and thank you, Spy, for this wonderful gift.

  2. goosebumps.

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