Tell me no secrets I’ll tell you no lies Show me yours and I’ll show you mine Spill the beans and I’ll lap them up Pour out your heart ‘til it fills my cup I’m a collector, a hoarder, a connoisseur Sympathiser, confidant, friend - if you prefer I’ll be whatever you need to satisfy my urge The darkest parts of you will validate my worth A problem shared is a problem halved, or so they always say Let me share the load, I can make your debtors pay A grain is all you need to give, I can do the rest Fill in all the blanks, I’ll make you come off best Just give me what I need a pic, a text, a call, a post Tell of their misdeeds I’ll make it hurt the most In every well told story lives a kernel of the truth Feed my web of secrets I’ll spin a veil, in sooth
I wrote this poem for my local poetry group; the theme was secrets, and it got me thinking how much we love a big juicy secret (as long as it’s someone else’s of course). I came across the word ‘sooth’ in my search for inspiration. I’ve heard of a soothsayer, but never sooth, which apparently means truth or reality. This got me thinking about the ways in which newspapers and the media spin truths and create realities (often for their own political ends) and I learned that fake news has been around as long as the news itself.
In America they used to call it Yellow journalism, here in the UK we call it tabloid journalism. As far back as 1898 Hearst & Pulitzer were said to have contributed to the American-Spanish war over Cuban independence, publishing exaggerated stories of atrocities to encourage war. In the UK we’re supposed to have impartial news outlets, such as the BBC, but from what I can see the use of exaggeration, scare-mongering and sensationalism typically characterising tabloid news can be found in all corners of the media.
This is what I like about writing; the quest for a simple poem led me down a history rabbit hole, and now I know a little more about the world than I did before, though still nowhere near as much as I’d like.