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Birmingham City Council

Birmingham Young Poet Laureate 2005-2006

Helen Monks was the first Young Poet Laureate for Birmingham

12 year old Helen Monks was one of 137 young people from over 60 schools who applied to be our first Young Poet Laureate.

Helen had a really busy year, meeting other poets, getting help with her writing and performing at special events. Find out more about the life of a Young Poet Laureate in Helen's diary.

Helen was also asked to write poetry for particular occasions as part of her role. Some of the poems she wrote as Laureate include a poem for Holocaust Memorial Day, poetry for a Shelter anthology and a poem in celebration of the Queen's 80th birthday.


Find out more about the role of Young Poet Laureate and about the current postholder.


Here are the fantastic poems which Helen submitted when she applied for the post:


Simultaneous Future, Past and Present

Together we walk down the road,
David, Polly and me,
Together we walk in single file,
Together, yet separately.
Polly in her frilly dress
With her brand new stockings on.
David suspended in mid-air
Lazily drifting along.

But I walk down the road alone,
Thinking of the day just gone,
Alone I walk, down the street
That no one and nothing is on.
With my heavy bag in one arm
My violin in my right,
Alone I walk down the empty road
With no one and nothing in sight.

But Polly walked down the road alone,
Dragging her dolly along,
Alone she walked, down the street
That no one and nothing was on.
Clasping her dolly in one hand
Scratching her arm with the right,
Alone Polly walked down the empty road
With no one and nothing in sight.

But David will walk down the road alone,
Lazily drifting along,
Alone he will walk down the street
That no one and nothing is on.
Rubbing his eyes with one hand
In his coat pocket the right,
Alone David will walk down the empty road
With no one and nothing in sight.

Together we walk down the road,
David, Polly and me,
Together we walk in single file,
Together, yet separately.
Polly in her frilly dress
With her brand new stockings on.
David suspended in mid-air
Lazily drifting along.

Future, past and present,
David, Polly and me.
We will, we have, we walk down the road,
Together, yet separately.


The Gargoyle

I stare at it
And it stares back,
That gargoyle on the church,
I wait for it
To blink or speak,
That Gargoyle on the church.

When I turn
It will wake,
That gargoyle on the church,
It will jump
And leap about
When my back is turned.

But as I stare
It is still,
That gargoyle on the church.
As still as still
It waits for night,
And waits for me to turn.

At night it will
Come alive,
That gargoyle on the church.
I stare at it
And it stares back,
That gargoyle on the church.


Worst things happen at sea

Today was boring, the sea was calm.
Nothing happened, the day dragged on.
The teacher's voice dragged
Like the distant waves not getting any closer.
Nothing happened, the sea was calm.

Today was frightening, there was a ship wreck.
Miss was yelling so loud at me.
This kid started crying
Like the moan of the floorboards sinking below.
Everyone was screaming, there was a ship wreck.

Today was exciting, there were loads of high waves.
We had so much fun coz Miss was away.
The supply teacher let us do what we wanted
Like an ill captain leaving the crew in charge.
We had great fun, there were loads of high waves.

Today I slept in, the tide stayed out.
Coz it's a Saturday, no point in getting up.
All of the fishes are hiding,
Like a shark was about.
I had a rest and the tide stayed out.


I blacken a stone on the fire

I blacken a stone on the fire,
I turn it around with a stick,
There's no flesh on me,
Just skin and bones
And I'm growing weak and sick.

I blacken a stone on the fire,
I watch it's dull grey burning white,
I'm alone in the world
With no parents,
Surely I'll die of fright.

I blacken a stone on the fire,
As there's nothing else to eat,
And I watch the fire
Crackle and burn
As I try to get food from the heat.

I blacken a stone on the fire,
I don't really even know why.
But that fire that was once
So burning and bright
Grows weak and begins to die.


About the Birmingham Young Poet Laureate
Birmingham Young Poet Laureate - Helen's Diary 2005-6
Poems by Helen Monks
More Poems by Helen Monks
Birmingham Young Poet Laureate shortlisted applicants 2005-2006
Poetry Menu
About the adult Birmingham Poet Laureate
What's in Libraries for Young People?