Greg Quiery reads his poem 'The Vanished'
Just as we were guided by the work of the historian Greg Quiery on the Liverpool Irish, we were also guided by his poetry. His poem 'Vanished' from his collection A Stray Dog, Following (Stairwell Books, 2020) concentrates on Silvester Street in Liverpool, where a small children's playground can be found on the site of what was once a graveyard in which many Famine migrants were buried in the 1840s. The speaker of the poem addresses the people remembered - "you hold on our behalf the burdens of the past" and evokes, very movingly, the sense of past and present, and memory and loss, which resonated very strongly with our meditations on the plaque on Mulberry Street. So the poem describes "the rhythm of the lorries' rumble" in the modern city, but it also gives us a sense of the city as being, in a way, only part of a much larger natural, elemental place - it thinks of the soil underneath the tarmac playground, which "once gave birth to daffodils and snowdrops", it keeps reminding us of the sea the migrants had to cross, and looks to the sky which becomes the "vaulted canopy" for those buried without "the grandeur of the church". You can purchase Greg's book, and read more of his brilliant poetry, from Stairwell Books.
Listen to Greg reading his poem ‘The Vanished’ on Mulberry Street: