25 October 2022

Inaugural St Helen’s Laureate

SHSK School

October 2022

This year sees the establishment of a new student role in school: the St Helen’s Laureate. The post-holder will be commissioned to write creative literary pieces in any form to mark key moments in the school year, as well as for national and global events. The Laureate position is awarded to the winner of the Senior Creative Writing Cup in the previous year; we are thus delighted to announce that the St Helen’s Laureate 2022-23 is Constance in Upper Sixth.

Reflecting on her new role, Constance (U6C) said: “I’m both nervous and excited about taking on the role, as I’m hoping I’ll be able to set the right standard for future Laureates, but so far I’m really enjoying it, especially as I have the honour of being the first! I’m really looking forward to having a platform to share my work throughout the year, as well as my writing being used to mark special occasions nationally and within the school calendar.”

Constance’s first piece was read out during assembly in September and can be read below. On her first poem as Laureate, Constance said: “I was hoping to convey the familiarity that comes with autumn and the start of a new school year, especially the comfort of seeing autumn begin in the same way it has before. I also wanted to convey the excitement of starting something new, even if it’s something that’s done every year.”

We look forward to sharing more of Constance’s writing over the year. Each piece of writing will also be on display in the alcove opposite Reception in school, and then on permanent display in the English Department for posterity.

Mr Muir, Head of English


Autumn 2022 – St Helen’s Laureate Poem

Fingerless gloves, a scarf around your neck.
Little round leaves
trod into mud like paint spilled, gems in the earth and blazing
from the rows of trees.
Craneflies skitter on walls, and apples
pulp on the sides of roads and in the fields,
a molten, speckled border
riddled with cavities and crawling things.
Brown hair and a brown hair tie.
Damsons and plums, royal purple,
syrupy gold on the pavement.
Seed pods like bark, cracking, fleshy and whole, splitting.
Conkers are milky white and unripe,
horse chestnut. glossed over
with brown, a paintbrush tapping colour over them,
and leaves sound like snow,
baked crisply in the last of the sun.
Autumn, August.
Rolling over into September.
The year opening again, with earth and waxy desks
scrawled over with biro scars.
Dig your pen into the wood.
Leave the paper unmarked,
sheaves of it bound tight, bird’s footprints of ink treading the
pages. Rain beats
a military tattoo on the windows and roofs.
Burrs cling to clothes, pick them off.
Roll them on the table
with fingers already blue-black from the pens.
Old stains blotted in again. Tighten the scarf,
tuck it into your collar.
It’ll be cold, soon.

Constance (U6C)

SHSK School

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