Brian Johnstone

Brian Johnstone is a poet, writer and performer whose work has appeared throughout Scotland, elsewhere in the UK, in North America and across Europe. He has published three pamphlets and three full collections, most recently Dry Stone Work (Arc, 2014). His poems have been translated into over a dozen languages. In 2015, his work was selected to appear on the Poetry Archive website. His memoir Double Exposure was published by Saraband in February 2017, and his latest pamphlet, Juke Box Jeopardy, appeared with Red Squirrel Press in February. He is a co-founder and former director of StAnza.

Photo: Ross Wilson


Imprisoned Poets Reading »

Short readings from the work of imprisoned poets

Fri 8 March | 15:30 - 16:30 | free / ticketed | The Byre Theatre, Abbey Street, Auditorium


An Accumulation of Dust

The house had outgrown circumstance, but
you held on.  Pressed between the pages of your past,
you stuck to them, reluctant to move out, to recognise
the brittleness of age. And when it came, the move
stirred up the sediment of forty years and more.

Not long in your new shell, and now the haste
to prise you from the last, seems ill advised. I run
a finger through the dust you would have mopped up
in a trice and wonder if an old shell, empty, cold,
was not a better home to play out fading days.

We broke apart the old one in a week. You walked
with me through vacant rooms accompanied by ghosts
we hadn't laid. And now, the hoover picks up dust
from carpets that outlived you, as I pick up misgivings,
doubts, from small, undusted corners I forgot.

Brian Johnstone

From Double Exposure (Saraband, 2017)