the Northgate from the city
was a larger affair - with towers, a debtor's prison and dungeons underground
from where convicted men (and women) were led over a bridge to the chapel over the ditch (then stinking with fishy entrails and meaty offal, and sighed
before being carted to the gibbet to the east.
The chapel of St John's was then a hospital
for the 'Sillie' people - or perhaps the most wise -
with 13 beds reserved for the poor
and then a school for blue-coated boys (but never girls).
Out of the city then, into the suburb, the abbott's parish
where the taverns and inns of Bag Lane (now Canal Street)
served smuggled fish, and easy-going girls
and PortPool Way
(now Garden Lane) led
now student digs.
There is still a sense
of the open air
not just the canal
and ships from Gascony, Spain and Germany
dispelled their wine, flax and iron
in exchange for salt and skins
where today there are sheds, onions, cabbages
and a different sort of haven.