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Liberty Walks Naked
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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 six 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. A founder and former Director of StAnza: Scotland’s International Poetry Festival, he has appeared at various poetry festivals, from Macedonia to Nicaragua, and at numerous venues across the UK. http://brianjohnstonepoet.co.uk/  

 

 

 

 

The Marks on the Map

 

You number them off on a tramp – the big house,
the lodge, the manse – each good for a cup of tea
in your hand, a piece on jam, some bacon clapped
in a bap. It’s the back door ever, a knock, the wait:
Any odd jobs needing done? Some kindling to chop, 
a shoe on a last to tack back to shape, some dreels
to dig over or weed. And, maybe a barn to doss in
if the farmer’s a man with a kindly heart; the back
of a dyke if he’s not. Old coats and jackets: things
that you need, or boots that have seen better days;
the minister’s breeks once, threadbare at the knee,
nothing a needle and yarn couldn’t save. And you
number them off on the map in your head – a flea
in your ear, that long stand in the cold, a fly fag or
that warm by a Rayburn door – each one a species
of kindness or scorn, a foot put in front of another.

 

 

©2017 Brian Johnstone

 

 

Author Links

 

Poetry in Dundee University Review of the Arts

Poetry in Glasgow Review of Books

Poetry in The Island Review

 

 

 

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