Peter Humphreys

68 years old from , Back home


I was 13 exactly on the day John F. Kennedy died. Until then, my life had been quite uneventful. That is if you do not count the Beatles and the fact my home city was then in the grip of Beatlemania? During my childhood years in Liverpool, I was always aware of two traditions living pretty harmoniously. on my father's side, English Protestant, and on my mother's side, Irish Catholic. At that time, Liverpool was known as 'the Capital of Ireland'. I was educated by Irish Cross and Passion Nuns and Irish Christian Brothers. My brother and sister were members of the Catholic Ramblers and the Irish Centre was going strong, serving great Guinness!

As a teenager, I wanted to have nothing to do with Ireland. This was not helped by the Nationalistic way we were taught history at Secondary School where we were made to feel personally responsible for the deaths of millions in the Irish Potato Famine over a hundred years before! This always seemed a bit unfair, especially for my Polish friend sitting next to me in class. But the many stories of my mother's childhood visits to the family farm in the Mourne Mountains must have worked subliminally so that when I visited Ireland really for the first time on my own in 1970, despite the Troubles, I fell in love with the place. That love affair has continued, hardly unabated. Especially after I visited remote Erris in County Mayo for the first of many times in 1971.

But to make a go of life, like many Irish people before and since (until recent times), you had to move to get work. The same was true in Liverpool. These travels reflect themselves in my writings, some of which touch on emigration. All my writings are suffused by sense of place, places dear to me and that have affected me whether that place be Liverpool, London, Dublin, Mayo, Wexford, Rome, Vilnius, Prague, Lisbon, the Rhineland ... Sometimes the canvas is broad and sometimes intimate in every sense.

All my poems are love poems: love of and for people, love of and for place, love for and of ideas ... I do so hope they speak to you.