Helen Yendall

Helen was Poet Laureate between 2006-2007.

Her winning poem is below. You can contact Helen on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.





We were happy before he came.
Polished and poised, I perched on my platform
Ready to go at the flick of a switch

I broke the morning silence at seven
With my chirrups and low rumbles
My whirling fountain of steam spewed out.
A whale’s blow-hole, dampening the kitchen tiles
For tea.

Home from work, she came straight to me.
Before the cat, or the post felt her touch.
Kicked off her shoes, hugged the coffee cup
Her face, reflected in mine, was wide and bulbous and beautiful

At night, one final caress
For Horlicks
Before she creaked alone up the stairs.

Then he moved in.

She presses me – he bangs
She lowers me – he drops
He knocks me against the taps
He uses old mugs, the back-of-the-cupboard mugs
He swills.
Sometimes I’m snubbed – he heats up milk in the microwave
And like an inconsiderate lover, more interested in his own pleasure
Than in mine
When I’m just on the edge, bubbles building inside me
A wave about to crash –
He turns me off.

But worst of all, he overfills

At first she laughed it off
“Silly! There’s enough water in there for six cups, never mind two.”
But now she tuts, lifts me up, feels the weight of me
Bloated, straining to bring such an ocean
To its climax
Her face, reflected in mine, is contorted
And furrowed
What a waste, she says
And how many times has she told him?
I think this is just the start of it
I am counting the days
Until he is gone