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This poem is taken from PN Review 231, Volume 43 Number 1, September - October 2016.

You, Ellen Fleur Adcock
HEROINE

I plucked you out of a group photograph
in our family album: you, composed,
standing in the centre front; my father,
pleased with himself, just behind you, his head,
like yours, tilted slightly back – a habit
learnt from being among taller people.

You chaired the first UNESCO conference
(this wasn’t it); you were from Manchester,
you’d been a teacher, you’d served in the Blitz –
you couldn’t have been more his cup of tea.
‘That’s the Minister of Education’,
Mother would boast. So where was it taken?

Three women and fifteen men, all in suits
apart from one ARP uniform
(is that a clue?) Birkbeck suggests itself,
...


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