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This poem is taken from PN Review 53, Volume 13 Number 3, January - February 1987.

Two Poems Cliff Ashby

Poem

They blamed her dad for giving her ideas.
Not, God forbid, they found ambition wrong!
But for young girls it seemed unnatural.
To be a lady's-maid or needlewoman was admirable -
Next best to being a wife -
But to speak with equal grammar and more thought
Than one's employer; there danger lay.
Better a mindless wretch scrubbing floors
Than being cause for embarrassing one's betters.
Hide your wonder in the drab of service,
Who knows, you might get pregnant by the master -
Or sacked for not.
But she, poor girl, was damaged by the spring.
Blood and body burgeoning into floods of flowers
Beauty bludgeoned her.
Overlooking Boxhill, late light casting shadow
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