Motley Moose – Archive

Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

Racism, Murder, Justice and Poetry

Let me share with you a brief moment. I don’t know how many Mooq have followed the story of Stephen Lawrence, the 19 year old student who was randomly and viciously murdered by a  gang 19 years ago, in a famously racist part of South London, waiting at a bus stop, not far from where I used to live, and also close to the fascist  BNP headquarters in Eltham.

For many people, his murder, and the failure to prosecute his killers, was a seminal moment in race relations in the UK – and an acceptance of the double standard Black Britons face when it comes to receiving justice.

But above all, his parents campaigned for justice for their murdered son.

Well, this week, after three abortive trials and the Macpherson Report that concluded that Stephen’s killers were never brought to justice in the UK because of ‘institutional racism’ in the Metropolitan Police, a cold case investigation found conclusive evidence that linked two of the gang to the murder, and they were sentenced to the maximum sentence (still under review) for juveniles – as they were at the time.

But this is not why I am writing this diary. Our poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy, who is not only the first woman poet officially appointed by the Queen to talk to the nation, and the first Scot, but also the first openly gay poet in that role, has just written this beautiful and moving tribute. I’ve always wondered how on earth any poet worth their salt could be paid to celebrate official birthdays and jubilees. But Carol Ann Duffy has restored in this brief lyric, the whole idea of the engaged public poet.

I’ve leaving a respectful place below the squiggle for you to enjoy. And grieve. And weep.  

Stephen Lawrence

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 –

your life’s length doubled,

unlived, stilled,

till one flower, thorned,


in her hand,

love’s just blade.


  1. Kysen

    it focused on the four men accused (two convicted) of committing the crime in a sort of ‘where are they now’ way.

    They sound like straight up thugs. Pseudo-mafia hoodlums that were/are held protected by their neighborhood.  A couple of them still treating their infamy as a badge of honor.

    Justice delayed may well be justice denied…but it is still good to see that at least two of the guilty racist murderers will serve some time.

    Not near as long as they ought..but some.

    Thank you for posting this, Peter.

  2. Strummerson

    I thought this was about Shakespeare.

    What a moving poem.   Thanks for sharing it mate.

    It’s horrifying that racist violence persists in urban centers of western democracy.  If Republics fail at the basics of civil society, they fail at their entire raison d’etre.

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