by Brian Johnstone

It’s the pattern
of a dance,
not slow, slow,

quick, quick, slow;
but slow, slow, slow:
the macro prints

that show the steps
– not feet, but foot
in singular;

not tripping
the light fantastic
but out there

in the dark,
a ritual dance
as if in Balkan style,

a circle of steps
while we humans

slept and slugs
in stately,
mute procession,

turned slime-borne
about each other
in pursuit

of what? – not
the leaving
of this trail for sure

their signature
in residue
on slabs of stone,

a ring of silver
chanced upon by light
fantastic in its way

of finding out
the veiled and covert
footwork of the night.



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.