Walsall Poets Shine in Hope Radio`s Second Community Poem with Three Poet Laureates

Walsall poets have been collaborating with two community poem projects organised by Hope Radio to bring hope to the region during the coronavirus pandemic. The community poems will be posted online, in a virtual exhibition and on the community radio`s website to demonstrate the power that creativity brings in connecting people during lockdown. In addition, audio clips of Walsall`s wordsmiths reading their work will be broadcast across the region as part of a special programme on FM and digital radio. If that was not enough, Walsall`s poets came to the attention of three of the region`s Poet Laureates who decided to support what the people of Walsall had to say on community radio.

The Birmingham Poet laureate, Staffordshire Poet Laureate and Wednesbury Poet Laureate all added their support to the Walsall wordsmiths.

“Hope Radio, which broadcasts on 87.9 FM and online, was born during the coronavirus pandemic with one simple aim – to bring hope to the local community.

We have an OFCOM licence and we are run by volunteers”, said Hope Radio presenter and Walsall resident Ian Henery.

“It was decided that, as part of our on-going work to connect with our community, we would invite our listeners to submit a single line of poetry that could then be woven into a tapestry of a larger community poem to create a totally original piece of work.

The results have been staggering with people from all walks of life sending us their lines and recording themselves reading their contributions for broadcast.” Hope Radio received such a massive response that they have had to split the work into two separate poems. The first poem is entitled “Multi-Colour Ribbon of Music and Chat” which was suggested by a line from Lisa Johnston. The second poem is called “A Community Tunes In Together Each Day”- the title is provided by a line from poet Alan “Kurly” McGeachie – whose contribution appears within this poem.

The opening stanza (and first 7 lines) is by Richard O’Brien, Birmingham Poet Laureate 2018 – 2020 who was interviewed on Hope Radio on 7th August to record his lines and talk about his work as Poet Laureate and ambassador for the city of Birmingham. Richard`s interview was broadcast on Hope Radio in a special extended edition of The Ian Henery Show on Tuesday 11th August and Friday 14th August.

Other contributors included Mel Wardle Woodend (Staffordshire Poet Laureate), Brendan Hawthorne (Wednesbury Poet Laureate) and Lucy Heuschen (Rainbow Poems and Sonnets for Shakespeare). Walsall poets collaborating included Rebecca Johal, Robert Deeley, Jae Lex Linsey, Nigel Moffatt, Christina Rudd, Eileen Ward Birch, Antony Nick Britt, Tracey Hammerton, Alison Reed (Walsall Writers Circle), KianisMe, Al Barz, Ian Davies, Lettie Wilson, Grace Dore, Su Parker Hallcroft, Angela Barlow, Steve Pottinger & Nicholas Barlow.

“We are very grateful to everyone who has contributed”, said Ian Henery who presents The Ian Henery Show twice a week on 87.9 FM Hope Radio. “We were very fortunate to receive not only the support from the Birmingham Poet Laureate but Nina Lewis, former Worcestershire Poet Laureate (who contributed to the first Hope Radio Community Poem), the Wednesbury Poet Laureate and the Staffordshire Poet Laureate – four Poet Laureate supporting Hope Radio!

How cool is that? Big respect to all during this unprecedented chapter of our shared history”.

A Community Tunes In Together Each Day

(Hope Radio Community Poem)


Hope is a river running underground,

A faint pulse under tarmac.

We are the ones who, sometimes,

Lose the trail.

It remembers, though,

Or you might get that feeling

From the sparkle when

The water lifts to greet us.


Hope burns through misery of doubt

And uncertainty

Like the early morning sun

Dispels the hanging mist that blankets

Our world.

Dark veins against a bullfinch orange sky,

Caring hands, spotted with age.


Naught but blue sky,

A hot one on the way

Weathering a virulent storm

Dappled light danced.

The wind of change is in the air,

Freeing the spirits trapped

In history`s past stare.


Listen for the gentle voice,

Look to the guiding hand

That reaches out in friendship

All across this land.

Opened minds reimagine the future,

One line does not a poem make:

Angels circle and sing in rejoice.


We speak our minds

To remove the pain;

We lay foundations

Of disdain.

Even if we don`t forget

Hopefully we can move on

New foundations without regret.


Hope wakes,

Yawns, stretches its arms

Wide enough to wrap its arms

Around us all.

You feed the blackbirds

With mealworms,

Yourself with hope.


Hope sleeps huddled on an unmade bed

In a corridor somewhere between shifts.

Night and day merge into one.

Eyes shut tight

Against dreams of hospital corners

I walk forwards with love,

Joy and happiness.


A rainbow sea

Of umbrellas, united

The community shields its own

With mighty hope

Against the onslaught of rain.

Spectrum colours united,

Together in love.


Hope is seeing the light

When surrounded by darkness;

The clouds caressing the sky

Hold a thousand stories.

A stone`s throw, rippling away,

The see-saw of emotions

Needs to find a balancing point.


Embracing silence to stop the screaming

Walk with me

And take me to the view

That calms my heart

And feeds my soul –

But only he who sees

Takes off his shoes.


Dancing free

My cape lights up the skies

Like butterflies,

Colourful swirls parading

In the moonlight.

Got to get it right,

Need to set it right.



A community tunes in together each day

On reception of affection

Broadcast across the airwaves.

Ideas become more powerful

When actioned  together

Hope – the last thing Pandora had.


I hope and pray for those that lead

To help the ones in drastic need.

A community

Is a place for you and me.

This is your place now,

They key only opens the door it was meant for,

Not the one its owner desired.


There is no sense of rush

Is there?

There is time to think,

Be present in the stillness.

Home-schooling was never on the agenda;

What life lessons

Can be learnt?


The young onion is a curious thing

As it’s only when you eat it

That you know

The tears

It will bring.

I think my husband

Is a Vampire!


I`m dying to go to the pub!

Ah – and there is the rub.

I wish you a beautiful day,

It`s the weekend and time to play.

Hope burns a torch in my heart

Bleeds purple

Then a rainbow.


Hope Radio 87.9 FM is grateful to the following poets:

Rajbinder (“Rebecca”) Johal

Richard O`Brien (Birmingham Poet Laureate)

Lourdes Marianne Burgess

Robert Deeley

Manjit Sahota

Linda Harper-Hucknell

Jae Lex Linsey

Nigel Moffatt

Mark Roberts

David Moore

Eileen Ward Birch

Mel Wardle Woodend (Staffordshire Poet Laureate)

Angela Garratt

Christina Rudd

Alan Kurly McGeachie

Antony Nick Britt

Tracey Hammerton

Alison Reed

Greg Stokes

Jonathan Watkiss

Julia Robinson

KianisMe Brendan Hawthorne (Wednesbury Poet Laureate)

Maria Billingham

Al Barz

Ian Davies

Lettie Wilson

Grace Dore

LM Cooke

Su Parker Hallcroft

Tonia Daley-Campbell

Angela Barlow

Steve Pottinger

Vicki MacWinyers

Nicholas Barlow

Lucy Heuschen

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