Maggie Butt

A Documentary History of Stuff

Two china dogs from Woolworths,
one with a chipped ear, stand guard
upon the mantelpiece, keep watch over
six books, a crystal radio; upstairs
two work-day dresses and one Sunday best.
Back door ajar for neighbours to drop in.

Hair-brush and powder puff on dressing table.

Dissolve to:
Hordes crush into shopping malls, crazed
magpies trinketing their nests, enslaved
by those who make ‘acquire’ feel like ‘achieve.’
Back home, cupboards and shelves burst with gadgets,
computers, coats and shoes, behind five-lever
locks, alarms and bared-teethed Alsatians.

Lights on standby blink and wink all night.
Fast-forward to:
Paleontologists, descended from dolphins,
shake their heads at the deep stratum
of compressed plastic which almost choked
the seas, it’s come-and- buy colours undimmed
by time, last vestiges of an extinct species
which could never get enough. Stuff.

Maggie Butt is an English poet who has published five poetry books, one pamphlet, one e-book/MP3 and an edited collec-tion of essays. Her latest collection Degrees of Twilight was published by The London Magazine. Her first pamphlet Quintana Roo was published by Acumen Publications in 2003.