The Friday Poem on 14/01/22
We chose Mat Riches’ poem ‘Phantom Settlements’ as this week’s Friday Poem because we love its playfulness and humour, and his obvious love of language. Riches ranges far and wide to tantalise, amuse and intrigue us, leaving us a trail of clues starting with the title and sub-title. But he demonstrates a deeper intention too, as the poem brings up issues of authenticity and truth. Definitely one for our front page.
“But didn’t you know? Everything is made up.” Peter Ackroyd, Chatterton
She would no doubt accuse me of esquivalience
if I didn’t tell you about the world famous
fountain designer, Lillian Mountweazel. Despite
her death in an explosion while taking pictures
for a magazine called Combustibles,
she was made up with her career, but lacked the voice
to speak for herself. These weasel words aren’t hers,
though I’m sure she’d want you to know about Trap Street
and the dangers of Paper Road, so look them up
for yourself and you’ll see these places and people
are the brown M&Ms that catch the thieves
or the shortcut takers. She might just redirect you
to come and see me, and if you do I’ll be lying
in wait for you at home in Argleton. Don’t get caught
with my words in your mouth, don’t copy
my roadmaps or use my quiz questions.
The settlements won’t be phantom, I promise.