Sunday, March 02, 2014

Portpool Way

In Medieval times



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




inexorably down



past cottages



now student digs.



There is still a sense



of the open air



not just the canal



but the place where the river pooled and spread



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.


2 Comments:

Blogger jem said...

I love these walks you take us on Clare. If I'd had you as my teacher at school I'd have love history far more (and probably English too, although I did like that then). The juxtapositions you notice make my haiku heart swoon. And I love the anti-bird spikes on the blue boy's book!

Thu Mar 06, 11:31:00 a.m.  
Blogger Clare Dudman said...

Thanks Jem! I'm delighted you like them. And yes, those spikes are pretty unsual. I think there must be a big pigeon problem just there.

Thu Mar 06, 06:29:00 p.m.  

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