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Miriam Obrey

Miriam is a retired couples' counsellor. She was Three Counties Showground poet during The Poetry Society’s Poetry Placements Scheme and led workshops for and during Warwick University's Advanced Writing Programme. Her pamphlet ’A Case for More Heads’ was published by Flarestack in 1996.  Her poems appeared in anthologies including Oxford Poets 2007 and have won/been placed in competitions including The Arvon International, Ledbury, Ludlow Assembly Rooms, The Troubadour and Essex Poetry Festival.

Sheep shearing


.....so   i resume the dance i've danced

all afternoon    stepping round the last upended ewe    

turning her 

​                  to strip the fleece from her flank    

leaving a buffer of bristled kemp  


Breathing in her grassy breath 

i press the trembling mass of her   hard

against my hip    

​                        she's kicking up dust     

I keep my shears clear of the thick blue vein 

that rises and falls with the swell of her belly

tightening my grip to wedge her fast

in the crook of my arm     

​                                     hoiking her 

up and round again    

Leaning in     mindful not to graze her throat    

its tender skin

                       ​i attend to the curve of her neck


Doubled up   

​                   she draws back her lips

against a grin of mismatched teeth


Her breath escapes in short hot bursts


I reach across the naked length of her    

to pug the daggings from her tail   

​          ​                                           Done    

A quick release leaves her wool

quaking    in a pile beside me


​and she     shucked    white-eyed    

pink-flecked and panicky    

​       ​                                  skidding off    

across the yard

clattering on small black hooves