Our featured publication for January is Lost & Found by Vic Pickup, published by Hedgehog Press.
‘Vic Pickup’s direct and empathic poetry captures moments, voices and relationships without a filter, finding that what is ‘normal was more beautiful all along’ – it doesn’t need any enhancement. Pickup finds an intense, sometimes painful, beauty in a whole range of
‘normals’ – from one man’s wartime grief, to a mother’s sense of loss, to a dog’s joy in
splashing. To appreciate these many strange and wonderful ‘normals,’ Pickup says that all we have to do is stand ‘outside in the world and listen’ for what seems ‘like / the first time’ – and that’s exactly what her poetry does.’ Jonathan Taylor
‘Lost & Found’ is just the right title for this, Vic Pickup’s first pamphlet. In it the poems not
only echo with things lost and things found, but through a refreshing and original lens, they see the invisible and speak the unsayable. They are an anthem to humanity that focus in on the absolutes of life: war, dementia, lockdown, the need for sudden joy, loss in a variety of forms, and gain too. Even a daughter’s toys imaginatively consigned to history reverberate down the years insisting their presence in a new now – a world seen afresh – without ever losing sight of what the poet holds true. A stunning, thoughtful debut.’ Claire Dyer
‘Dylan Thomas said the mark of good poetry was language that lifts on the page and the
poems of Vic Pickup’s first pamphlet positively leap with the poet’s verve and originality of expression. Whether the author is trying to resist the urge to jump into a river with a playful pup, taking delight in watching bird peck, or describing a gardener tending a perfect pink peony – the energy of the resulting poem is irresistible. This is a poet who has a rich palate to draw from, making each poem a vivid and luminous experience. A poet with great skill for both narrative and imagery. ‘Lost & Found’ is a joy to read.’ Anna Saunders
Lost and Found
You got up by yourself this morning,
put on your own knickers,
said you fancied eggs and bacon.
You went outside – first time in two years,
to breathe the dawn air and
survey the world since you left it.
In a few days, you remembered
your name, the dog’s, who I was,
that the postman wasn’t your Dad.
You exchanged pleasantries
with the woman next door, no longer
suspecting her of plotting your murder.
The hairdresser turned your flat feathers
into a helmet of curls, in the mirror
igniting a glimmer of recognition.
We chucked the grab rails and Complan
drove the zimmer to the tip, turned
your pill box into earring storage.
Weeks went by, you took the car out,
joined the library, had a stab at calligraphy,
tried your first chai latte.
Then on Sunday we came home and there
you were on hands and knees under the table,
looking for something; you didn’t know what.
Previously published on Runcible Spoon
With gloved hand, I place the shopping bag
on the shedding coir mat and ring the bell.
One pint of milk, half a loaf, two tins of soup,
tissues, your prescription
and a packet of Tena Lady
(though you didn’t ask).
I see you there, standing suddenly so small,
marooned in the middle of the kitchen floor.
You wave from behind the glass
with a hand that goes untouched.
Previously published by Mslexia
My Mother Told Me
to live in fear of solitary magpies… / …dare not repeat Friday night’s dream… /… if a bird
flew into the house… /… there’d be nothing for it… /… move out
never put shoes on a table… /… be in a situation …/… where there is no escape
but under a ladder
I recoiled at the gifted purse with no coin inside… /… black cat slinking from right to left
I’d turn around …/… tempt it back
she had me lopping the ends off bread… /… smashing through the bottom of an egg
with a spoon …/… to let the devil out
if I pointed at the moon… /… she’d gasp in horror …/… a broken mirror had me
in tears… /… I spent days searching …/… for a good omen …/… to reverse impending doom
I winced when someone opened an umbrella indoors …/… spilled salt …/… raised a toast
with water… /… dropped a knife or gave the gift of a blade
a passer-by would not have known …/… a pivotal moment …/.. the morning I saw the black
and white bird on a gate …/… and did not salute it.
There’s the one who was here within four minutes
then comes back the morning after with biscuits, thick and chocolatey.
Another, who stood in the doorway, shocked to see me on the floor
whose face is the first I remember.
There’s the one who cycled round with a pot plant balanced on each handlebar
jabbed the air with her finger and, quite rightly, put me in my place.
There’s the one who posted a card with so much to say
she’d gone over the Get Well Soon.
One who told my daughter they love her
when they didn’t know I was listening.
There’s the one who left banana bread on the mat —
started messages with ‘don’t reply, just know that’.
There’s the one who sent her husband out for baking powder because
I’d run out — and she knows I like to whisk troubles into oblivion.
The one who goes way back and usually lets his wife do the talking
but sent me a kiss at 10pm.
And there’s the one who was here, who put me in recovery and did all the right things
and says we’ll work it out and tells me five days after to put some make-up on
and brush my hair and he’s going to say a word and I might not like it but
and that is all.
Vic Pickup lives in Hampshire, England, with her husband and three children. A previous
winner of the Café Writers and Cupid’s Arrow competitions, her poetry has appeared in
anthologies, magazines and online, including Mslexia, Ink, Sweat & Tears and Reach Poetry. In 2019, Vic’s tongue-in-cheek poem about motherhood was shortlisted for the National Poetry Day #speakyourtruthpoem competition.
A keen reviewer, Vic regularly writes for Sphinx and Everybody’s Reviewing; she is also a
regular on BBC Berkshire radio. In 2018, Vic co-founded the Inkpot Writer’s Group near
Reading, where she is an active member of the town’s poetry circle.
Lost & Found is Vic’s debut publication. She is currently working on her first collection, The Omniscient Tooth Fairy, due to be published in 2021.
Lost & Found is available to purchase from Vic’s website.