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Mr Lawrence by Liz Blackmore

Many poems are written to mark, or to try to come to terms with, personal and public tragedies. Some of these poems are often helpful to their authors: they make us feel a little better, a kind of therapy, if you like. Others are useful to the reader, offering comfort, understanding or hope. This poem is one of tribute, to a well-liked and respected teacher who is much missed. Maura Dooley

Liz Blackmore, aged 17, receives Stopping for Death: Poems of Death and Loss, edited by Carol Ann Duffy (Viking).

Submitted by C M Sheah, deputy head of Oathall Community College, Appledore Gardens, Haywards Heath RH16 2AQ, who receives the Poetry Society's teachers' newsletter. For Poetry Society events, ring 0171 240 4810.

MR LAWRENCE

Monday mourning Back to school, Sunken eyes and tears. The silent weekend slipped past A sweaty haze of grief and Kleenex.

Outside the news reports film and point. Prying into our innocent childhood world.

Register taken, Same monotonous drone. Not answering "Yes Mr Lawrence", The memory stabbing us The same cold blade that killed him.

Letters to his wife. Just one line. Regret.

Trailing off into eternity. What else can we say? Too young to understand. Too young to forget.

A thousand red roses Cover the pavement, To mask the scent of death Pollinate the sadness.

Blinds pulled over the window To stop us looking out, Where he did, The last time. He tried to teach us The corrupt kids of the '90's Geography. Maths. And now, the hardest lesson of them all, Courage.

Liz Blackmore

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