Walsall’s temporary Poet Laureate Ian Henery is music to the ears of the borough’s Mayor as his rhymes are helping to bring in funds for charity.
Ian, who lives in Aldridge, has already come up with special poems for the Mayor and Mayoress and despite “not doing Christmas” he has also penned some verses in keeping with the festive season.
The father-of-four daughters has been made Poet Laureate by the Mayor for the duration of the rest of his term and he has been wowing audiences at a number of shows and events.
Ian was at the ten year celebration of Bridging the Gap, a town centre initiative by the Churches of Willenhall.
And last month after coming off stage after reading one of the poems he wrote for the Mayor at the Lighthouse Theatre in Wolverhampton, he was commissioned by the university to write a series of poems for the 2012 Olympics.
He has asked that his commission fee go to the Mayor`s Appeal.
Ian wrote eight poems in three days on the 2012 Olympics for the Mayor`s Appeal – in addition to his day job as managing director of a law firm.
He has been involved in a number of initiatives with organisations and groups throughout Walsall over the last few years – working with Bloxwich Library, Caldmore Area Housing Association and Walsall Manor Hospital’s neo natal unit.
He is a playwright and former Associate Writer at the Bird of Prey Theatre in Stratford upon Avon. His latest play, Harvest Home (World Citizen) goes on tour in January 2012 with a cast of scouts, cubs, guides, brownies and rainbows.
“I have seen many bleak situations during my years as a solicitor and I think that’s why I shy away from easy poetry, preferring to tell it as it is,” explained Ian, who lives with wife Irene who he met at Wolverhampton University.
“I was adamant I don’t do Christmas poetry but lo and behold I’ve ended up writing something seasonal after all, although one poem, A Green Christmas, is very much a modern statement with its references to recycling!”
Ian, aged 47, who cites Wilfred Owen and Christina Rossetti as his personal favourites, is donating any payments and commission money he receives to the Mayor’s Charity Appeal.
The Mayor of Walsall, Councillor Garry Perry, said: “Roses are red, violets are blue, I’m glad Ian’s our poet and my charities are too!
“All joking apart, Ian’s talents are giving my fundraising a novel flavour and I thank him very much for all his hard work.
“He is Walsall’s Poet Laureate for the rest of my term and I look forward to seeing what other masterpieces he has up his sleeve.”
Here are a couple of Ian’s Christmas poems:
The Christmas Child
The greatest tale told over 2,000 years old,
A redeeming child was born
Darkness to dispel with respite from Hell,
In a manger on Christmas morn.
A Saviour-King is given from God in Heaven
And all the angels sing
Peace on Earth with this baby`s birth,
The hope that Christmas brings.
The world is freed from poverty and greed
And all we need is love
God is born to men to lead us home again,
Let`s give praise to God above.
Retrieving our loss from manger to cross,
Humanity, open up your minds
Born to save and His life he gave,
God`s love for all humankind.
Ian Henery, 15th November 2011
Bethlehem – At The Stable Door
In a small Judean town,
No room at the inn ,
Stars appeared, night came down,
So the Nativity story begins.
Mary and Joseph on the road,
Mad King Herod and Bethlehem,
Donkey carrying a heavy load,
Angels, shepherds and 3 wise men.
The classic Christmas card story:
The Son of God in a manger laid,
Angels witness to God`s glory,
Born to a virgin, a Jewish maid,
Amongst animals in a stable;
No beds for the night, they`re poor:
The truth, not myth or fable,
God made flesh behind the stable door.
We`ve walked away from that scene
Doing whatever we like and please;
We`ve forgotten what Christmas means,
War has brought us to our knees.
Step up to that stable door,
Look inside and you`ll see,
The path to peace for evermore,
Redeeming love for lost humanity.
Millions of mothers cry before the Cross
In conflicts around the world,
Pining for children they have lost
As Death`s banner is unfurled.
“Peace on Earth” was the angels` song,
But today we`re mired in war;
In our lives, where does love belong?
Come to the stable door.
Inn crowded, no room for them,
A light in the darkness in a star;
The drama of Christmas at Bethlehem,
Oriental kings travelling from afar.
Shepherds watching their flocks by night
Came to the manger to adore,
The first apostles framed by starlight,
Bearing witness at the stable door.
Shepherds and kings saw glory in the skies,
An angel throng proclaiming that infant`s birth;
Witnessed that night, the simple and wise,
The Saviour and the Redeemer of the Earth
Born in a stable, a place of mystery,
Finding what they were looking for:
God Himself breaking in on humanity,
The Prince of Peace beyond the stable door.
The world offers us nothing better today,
Such love is difficult to conceive;
God`s love, at Christmas, is displayed,
Celebrated, gloried and believed.
The power of knowledge, high and vast,
Intellect, like a bird, may soar:
Star-guided, everyone comes at last
To Bethlehem and the stable door.
Ian Henery, 16th November 2011.