Veronica Beedham

Looking up your past life on Google

The new-builds on Primrose Lane are white ghosts
against the grey hills and the house we lived in
isn’t the house we lived in anymore, so you couldn’t
open the door and go in to see everything arranged
like a film-set with lino and chairs, the rocking horse
we never played on in the front room and the whole
mood of the time somewhere between Cathy Come
Home and Whistle Down the Wind, especially
that hill-climb to Sunday School where Cathy asks
about the Second Coming because of her Jesus
in the barn and rain comes down on the cobbled
street and there’s a wet newspaper flapping
in the wind and somehow it all makes your heart
heave because it has a kind of truth like the viaduct
pictured here still standing with its twenty arches
that someone has lovingly photographed, someone
who might have grown up in one of the miners’
cottages on Hollins Lane and carefully chose this view
from a field, where two piebald horses are roaming
about in long, waving grass and haze of white flowers
so beautiful you want to run right through it
in your six-year-old shoes as we did then, again and again,
the whole gang of us, all the way to Crigglestone.

Veronica Beedham writes: Sometimes it’s the poem you write quite easily and with little ‘thought’ that comes out best. ‘Looking up your past life on google’ was one of those, emerging from some idle moments
surfing the Internet for that halcyon time of childhood. I wrote poetry when I was young, but it’s only in the last decade that I’ve taken it more seriously. Winning the Overton Prize in 2016 led to my first pamphlet, ‘A Sense of Place’ published in 2017 by Loughborough
University Press. More recently, I’ve been working on another booklet of poems written in collaboration with the Italian photographer, Renzo Bertasi. It will be printed in 2022 by Janine Raedt at her Blue Print Press in Italy.