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Never mind Harold, do you remember Mary?

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Anne Diamond | 13:00 UK time, Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Harold and Mary Wilson in black and white

Tomorrow is Harold Wilson night on the BBC - on the Parliamentary channel, to mark the fiftieth anniversary of Harold Wilson's 1963 election to Labour Party leader.


I remember meeting him way back when. I met him, not because I was doing a serious political interview, but because he was with his wife Mary, who was quite a character in her own right, and I was chatting to her for tv!

Back at the turn of the 1970s, Mary Wilson was not only married to the Leader of the Labour Party, but was also one of the best-selling poets in the country, up there with the likes of Marc Bolan and Bob Dylan. She was a bit of a Pam Ayres of her day, if you like - and was a bestseller. Her 1970 book, "Selected Poems" sold an extraordinary 75,000 copies (now out of print). I even remember reciting one at school - this example which I thought was pretty cool at the time:

After the Bomb After the Bomb had fallen, After the last sad cry When the Earth was a burnt-out cinder Drifting across the sky,

Came Lucifer, Son of the Morning,
With his fallen-angel band,
Silent and swift as a vulture
On a mountain-top to stand.

And he looked, as he stood on the mountain
With his scarlet wings unfurled,
At the charnel-house of London
And the cities of the world.

And he laughed..........

And as that mocking laughter
Across the heavens ran,
He cried 'Look!' to the fallen angels -
'This is the work of Man
Who was made in the image of God!'


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