“Love is a Many Splendored Thing” is a popular song which first appeared in the movie of the same name and won the Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1956.
The song can also be heard in the movies Grease, Circle of Friends, St Trinian`s, St Trinian`s 2: The Legend of Fritton`s Gold and The Nutty Professor 2. The song, among others, was referenced in Moulin Rouge! when Christian says “Love is like oxygen – love is a many splendored thing – love lifts us up where we belong! All you need is love!”
14th February is Valentine`s Day and Wolverhampton`s radio station, WCR FM – which broadcasts on 101.8 FM, online, Spotify and Listen Again – have asked their Poet in Residence, Ian Henery, who hosted 3 days of events in the Mander Centre Community Hub between 3rd – 5th February for the Wolverhampton Literature Festival, to write a special poem.
“Valentine`s Day” said Ian Henery “started as a Christian celebration to honour a martyr named Saint Valentine. Originally it had nothing to do with the commercial celebration of romance and love across the world.”
In the 3rd century Saint Valentine was imprisoned in Rome for ministering to Christians persecuted under the Roman Empire. There is a legend of how he restored sight to the blind daughter of his jailer. On the evening before he was to be executed Saint Valentine wrote a letter to the jailer`s daughter, now no longer blind, signed “Your Valentine”. The jailer, his daughter and all of their family members and servants came to believe in Jesus and were baptised. The jailer`s daughter planted a pink-blossomed almond tree near his grave. Today the almond tree remains a symbol of abiding love and friendship. The relics of Saint Valentine were kept in the Church and Catacombs of San Valentino in Rome which remained an important pilgrim site throughout the Middle Ages.
The origins of Valentine`s Day have become marginalised by modern customs connecting the day with romantic love, the sending of cards, flowers and chocolates.
“Love is a many-splendored thing” says Ian Henery “because it`s not just about romantic love. A person can love in so many ways – their children, friends, animal companions, parents – love is a many-splendored thing! How about loving your friends? A cheeky shiraz wine? The place of your birth? Your favourite song on the radio? It`s not all about romantic love.”
According to Ian Henery love can even survive death. “Although that person has given up their physical body their love lives on in your heart and soul” explained Ian. “Love never dies”.
Ian, a solicitor who formerly had an offices in Willenhall and Birmingham, wrote the poem “Love Never Dies” while waiting for his case to be called on in Court 8 at Wolverhampton Magistrates Court. “Some solicitors do the crossword” said Ian “and others check their emails. I wrote poetry. I was thinking about my late father and wrote a poem in his memory. The District Judge asked me what I was doing and I said “I`m writing a poem”. He wanted me to read it to the whole court. So I did. The District Judge said it was very good and a magazine published it and the poem appeared worldwide. I don`t know what my late father would have thought about it but he encouraged me to write and perform. Love never dies.”