Janus, 31 December 2020

Janus was the Roman god of doors and gateways, beginnings and endings. He had two heads. One looked to the past and the other to the future. Hence the first month of the year is called January.

Tonight I saw old Janus

Looking over his shoulder,

Glancing back at the year.

‘Well?’ I said, as I caught his eye.


He smiled.

‘I’ve seen it all before, you know,

These plagues and pestilences,

Call it pandemic, Covid or what you will.

Long before your time, of course.

You’re not so badly off

With help and care and hope,

So count your blessings while you can.’


‘But so many deaths in the year gone by.

So many families are grieving.’


‘I know, I know.

But that’s the way the world must go.

That’s how the world has always gone.’


He turned his other face to me.

‘But I look forwards too

And I see better things.

The wheel goes round and round

And when you’re down

And when you’re at the worst,

It starts to rise and things improve.

They always have, you know.

And what is more

They always will.’


‘It’s been so hard. It’s by no means done.

The deaths increase and the year to come

Will be as bad as the last, I fear.’


‘Patience and endurance too,

These together will see you through.

Come now,

From past experience you should know

True grit is what you need to show,

For this is the way the world must go.’