About the Author 

Miriam Obrey lives in rural Shropshire. She has been nominated for BBC Poet of the Year; worked in schools during Warwick University Advanced Writers Project and at The Three Counties Showground leading workshops and writing poems during The Poetry Society’s Placements Scheme; also at Dudmaston Hall, Nr Bridgnorth as part of a joint project involving The Poetry Society and The National Trust.

 

Miriam’s poems appear in magazines including The North, The Rialto, Quadrant,  Smiths Knoll, Warwick University Literary Magazine and Oxford Poets Anthology 2007.

 

Her poem The Walking Yews won 1st prize in the Ledbury Poetry Competition and Oakhampton – The General Situation won a 1st in The Ludlow Assembly Rooms Poetry Competition.

 

 

Examples of Work

 

Oakhampton – the general situation

for Paul Crane to mark his 35th birthday

 

From the lawn across The park to Near and Far Horn –

swallows, martins, buzzards – mainly high. Sunshine,

fair to good. Little Cloud cover. Thrush and wren song,

decreasing. Rooks, 30 or 40, rising slowly.

 

Cuckoo heard this morning over Sytch. Good

for birthdays and barbeques, though pollen count high,

with some risk of hornets crossing over. Church Field thickening

with tufted goats beard. Midge drift and humidity, rising slowly.

 

From The Horse Pond to Sytch Pool and Yarran Hollow –

moorhens, duck and yellow flags – Dickbrook, low.

Moderate or good. Tree shade – alder, sycamore and oak.

Emerging dragonflies, rising slowly. Trout-rise later.

 

Grove Bank, Long Bank and New Leasow – meadow grass

becoming variable. Dandelions, 2,014. Painted Ladies

and Orange Tips rising. Hay and haylage, moderate or good.

Mowing in Park and New Lay. Tedding, drying, baling, later.

 

40 Acres, Gags and Cherry Orchard, up for grazing.

Meadow grass, buttercups, lady’s’ smock and dog daisies.

Ragwort, 6 or 7, very poor. Rabbits, 25, decreasing 3 or 4 to Foxes.

Badgers 3, occasionally, good. Magpies 2 but hatching 7 – 9.

 

Oakhampton Park, Near and Far Horn, ewes and lambs 65.

Some cars, with family, dogs and friends expected later.

This concludes the Oakhampton Field and family forecast

on Saturday May 30th  at 12 hundred hours GMT.

 

The Walking Yews

 

When I was eight my father taught me

how to cross the road at Dick Brook bridge.

To set freshwater crayfish traps

in a piece of down spout.

To tickle trout and how to tell 

pedunculate from sessile oak.  Later

 

he taught me to suck sticky red flesh

from the pit of a yew berry;

to spit out seed, which swallowed,

he said would kill me just as sure

as it would pass through a mistle thrush intact;

that it's green and bitter sap

would drag me underground;

that I would drown

where Dick Brook met the river Styx

and join the sixpence I swallowed

in the last year's Christmas pudding. 

 

I survived his lessons

like the DNA of Viking kings

whose burial mounds against the sky

were crowned with yews  - 

ancestors of trees that have walked

through leaf-mould and clay

following tracks and bridle-paths

from its crest to mark a boundary

between the foot of Ramscombe hill

and the field

where old man Rea grazes his Friesians.