Poet laureate captures family’s fight for justice

THE tragedy of Stephen Lawrence’s murder and his family’s long battle for justice has been captured in a new work by the poet laureate.

Carol Ann Duffy’s poem was published yesterday and is simply titled Stephen Lawrence.

It paints a picture of a flower growing out of Lawrence’s blood, which is nurtured by his mother Doreen.

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The flower’s thorn, a “just blade”, eventually brings the family justice.

Patricia Ferguson, Scottish Labour’s culture spokeswoman, said: “It’s short and powerful, but also a very poignant poem.

“The poet laureate – whose job it is to write about events of our time – has certainly both recorded the tragedy of his very short life, but also the struggle of his family to achieve justice.

“I would hope it signals there is hope for the Lawrence family going forward, and more generally for society as a whole.”

Lawrence, 18, was stabbed to death by a gang of five or six white youths – including Gary Dobson and David Norris – who had racially abused him as he waited for a bus in Eltham, south-east London, on 22 April, 1993.

It is there, that Duffy’s poem begins.

“Cold pavement indeed

the night you died,


but the airborne drop of blood

from your wound

was a seed

your mother sewed

into hard ground –

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your life’s length doubled,

unlived, stilled,

till one flower, thorned,


in her hand,

love’s just blade.”