Norwegian Wood by Maggie Butt


Maggie Butt is an ex-journalist and BBC television producer turned poet and novelist.

Her poetry collection Degrees of Twilight (2015) follows Sancti Clandestini – Undercover Saints, an illustrated hagiography of imaginary saints, and  Ally Pally Prison Camp, which tells a little-known first world war story. Earlier collections were petite and Lipstick. Her novel House of Dreams was published as Maggie Brookes.

Maggie is an Associate Professor at Middlesex University and an Advisory Fellow for the Royal Literary Fund. She has judged the Frogmore, Ver Poets and Barnet poetry competitions, and this year is judging the Ware and Segora.






















Norwegian Wood






Cinderpath snakes down betweentrees

            from top-of-mountain, zigzagging

through birch-beside-spruce, rock-over-shale,

            fern-under-bracken; fjord glimpsed below

never climbing closer, its sparkledazzle

            flashing hints of an outsidewood

sunshineworld, miniature city with muss

            of rooftops, cars which are firefly

glints-of-light; while here is all dapplehush,

            brook chirruping beside path, waterfalls

triptumbling over ledges-boulders,

            lapping moss-stain waist-high round treetrunks

as if sea of verdigris had washed through

            leaving lush as pasture-after-rain;

and sometimes a shortcut, offtrack,

            sharp-slithers down between treeroots,

tempts us to downscramble, sliceoff a bend,

            but we choose path-most-travelled,

 slower, take-your-time, lookaround route

            and on next hairpinbend, in greenest-green

heartwood, people before have built

            dozens of cairns, smallstones heaped

ontopof eachother, like faerytowers

            or pebbles-on-graves, and we carefulchoose

fingersmooth  handweigh balance

            our own, honouring those who went

ahead in evergreen peace-of-the-wood.



Maggie Butt


First published in The London Magazine.


Oak by Maggie Butt

Degrees of Twilight by Maggie Butt