The Poet in Residence of Wolverhampton`s radio station, WCR FM, which broadcasts to over 900,000 people daily on 101.8 FM, online, Spotify and listen again, wants to wish everyone in the city a very happy New Year.
“I don`t think any of us have every known a year like this one” said Ian Henery, Poet in Residence and Legal Director of WCR FM. “Life became incredibly frightening in the COVID pandemic but just as we thought it might be over it kept on going. We went from one lockdown to another and COVID seems to keep on going without end.”
Ian Henery tested positive for COVID three times and had long COVID. He spent last Christmas in isolation with his 4 children until they tested negative in the New Year.
“we were then bombarded with the horrific war in the Ukraine” said Ian Henery “and the famines, the droughts and the floods that all make up global climate change. We cannot ignore it. Where on earth are we going to be next year? Will there be a nuclear war? I hope that the war will end.”
2022 was also the year that had three Prime Ministers, the Platinum Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II and the death of the Queen. There was widespread national mourning for the death of the Queen.
“I think her passing became a focus for the grief and unexpressed loss that so many people had felt during the pandemic when it was not possible to mourn publicly because people had to self isolate”.
Ian Henery believes that time passes faster with age and said “there`s no doubt that the speed of life is accelerating at a greater rate than ever. I keep thinking about what the Advent candles symbolised that were lit in churches each Sunday in the lead up to Christmas. They were hope, peace, joy and love. We need to have hope and optimism is important. We need to have hope, peace, joy and love for all of us to have a future in 2023. Hope was the last to fly out of Pandora`s Box. Sometimes hope is all that seems to glow in the dark times we find ourselves in right now with a war in the Ukraine.”
Ian believes that if we have hope we can also have peace, joy and love and that the Advent candles can be lit once again after Christmas but in our hearts as we step into the New Year.
“For many people the robin symbolises Christmas” explained Ian. “It`s a humble little bird but it also symbolises hope in the context of Emily Dickinson`s beautiful words: “Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul”.”
“I`d like to think” said Ian “that in the New Year – when joy, peace and love seem so hard to find, hope will perch in our souls and take us forward along the road of life into the New Year”.
The Little Road At The End Of The Year
The little road, half lost beneath the woods,
Runs on the hillside where, in some old days,
Strange shapes of men moved at their task of life
As me, who trod this path, move still and gaze
Across the valley, blue with winter haze.
Plain where fields fall towards the southern sun,
The way winds on above the limestone scar
Beneath black trees against a cold, pale sky,
Turns from our sight but on the hills afar,
Where the deepest strobes of blue shadows are
And the grey beech woods that stand, listening
In wintry peace to silence, save where, dry
About our feet the crisp leaves rustle, runs
The little road. Light fails and with the sigh
Day`s banners tumble from the stricken sky.
The years in long procession come and go;
The warm gold summers and the autumn rain,
With smiles and tears, go by the fields and woods
Where we passed once and may not pass again
Though still our footsteps in the grass remain.
Sleep lightly in the weight of time, fair day
That made me glad. When the darkening vale
Lies deep in dusk`s embrace and from the sky
Sunset, smothering fires of daylight fail
And on the hill the white path glimmers pale –
Though I, in passing, shall not stir the dew,
Yet this year`s thoughts will meet in that still heart
Of deep winter and the night, voiceless and calm,
Will quiver with the words that may not start
From spirits on this road that cannot part.