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As in so many countries, the household names ‘Aunt’ and ‘Uncle’ are not only used as phrases of kindred, but as words of kindly greeting and tender respect.

It is in this spirit, that the phrase was used in Cornwall to refer to the Mother of God as Modryb Marya – Aunt Mary


A Christmas Chant


Now all the trees by the king’s highway,

Which do you love the best?

O! the one that is green on Christmas Day,

The bush with the bleeding breast.

Now the holly with her drops of blood for me:

For that is our dear Aunt Mary’s tree.


Its leaves are sweet with our Saviour’s Name,

‘Tis a plant that loves the poor:

Summer and Winter it shines the same,

Beside the cottage door.

O! the holly with her drops of blood for me:

For that is our kind Aunt Mary’s tree.


‘Tis a bush that the birds will never leave:

They sing in it all day long;

But sweetest of all on Christmas Eve.

Is to hear the Robin’s song.

‘Tis the merriest song upon earth and sea:

For it comes from our own Aunt Mary’s tree.


So, of all that grow by the king’s highway,

I love that tree the best;

‘Tis a bower for the birds upon Christmas Day,

The bush of the bleeding breast.

O! the holly with her drops of blood for me:

For that is our sweet Aunt Mary’s tree.


Robert Stephen Hawker 1803 – 1875


Ref: Poets in the garden – Denis Wood

(John Murray (Publishers) Ltd)

Do You Know the

Locksmith House Museum in Willenhall?

Click on the pdf

below to read the

Faerie Locksmith Tale

PROFILE: LIZ BERRY - Black Country Poet

For anyone born in the Black Country, Liz Berry is a poet, literally speaking their language.

Liz was born in Sedgley (1980), went to school locally, did a degree course at University in Edinburgh, where she studied the English language with a special interest in accents. She also earned an MA in Creative Writing.

Her love of words and poetry came from parents who enjoyed poetry, took her and her sister to Poetry Festivals and encouraged them to write from an early age.

Liz’s passion for words is keeping the Black Country dialect alive through the colloquialisms she uses in her verse. The dialect is important to Liz because over the years it has been much maligned but she says is something worth cherishing and celebrating, after all, when a dialect or language disappears from any kind of use, it is usually gone forever.

Many popular Black Country poems are humorous or tell stories of the area’s history.

Liz Berry’s poetry speaks more about emotions, relationships and thoughts. Dialects and accents create a rich and colourful backdrop to our lives and Liz is certainly an important part of the bigger picture.

Liz Berry has won many prizes including:

The Eric Gregory Award in 2009.

The Poetry London competition in 2012 for the poem Bird

the Forward Prize for Best First Collection 2014

the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize,

the Somerset Maugham Award

the Forward Prize for Best Single Poem 2018.[8]


Find out more about Liz by visiting her website:



Watch Liz reading her poetry through the following links:


(Poem: Birmingham Roller read by Liz Berry)


(24min poetry reading by Liz Berry)

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West Midlands, UK


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