Early Photographs of Historic Towns

from the work of St. Andrews photographer Thomas Rodger

 

What we recognise are buildings

scarcely changed, the houses that survived

in streets whose strangeness we ascribe

 

to history, their emptiness mistaken

for evidence of life lived at a difference pace

in pasts we think we understand

 

fixed in black and white. Time, it’s true,

has played its part, wiped people wholesale

from our view; left only absence

 

or a blur that might have been

a dog, a cat – and here and there the sense

of something verging on the human:

 

a smudge, some captured light, the ghosts

of bodies tricked out of existence,

gone about their business in a mist of haste.

 


from The Book of Belongings (Arc Publications 2009), © Brian Johnstone 2009, used by permission of the author and the publisher

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Brian Johnstone

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2A Reading of Work

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3After Mallory

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4An Executive Decision

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5Concrete Poem

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6Early Photographs of Historic Towns

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7Empire Days

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8from The Ring Cycle - Whip Hand - Long Shot - Pitch

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9Gable

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10History

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11How Well It Burns

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12Like Braille

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1A Proof of the Uists

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14Making The Change

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15On Minos Street

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16On The Site of The Southside Joke Shop

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17One for the Road

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18Opening Up The Bag

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19Out-Station

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21Ramsons

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20Projection

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22Reservoir

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23Rope Trick

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24Sappers

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25Script

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26Sootfall

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27Surfin' Safari for a Small Town Boy

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28The Book of Belongings

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29The March Stone

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30The Thousand Blows

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32Tree Surgeons

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31Tokens of Admission

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