by Ryan Sampson

Before queues gathered for nightclubs
In a time prior to amusement arcades,
Before the Victorians came shivering in their bathers
Or brandy was stashed in crates in the caves.
The tides still trapped the crabs in the rock pools,
The moon and water still set the months,
But the old ruined priory was no longer ruined,
Or managed by English Heritage,
But run by monks.

They'd wander as they wanted chanting their matins,
Their Sanctus Benedictus and Agnus Dei.
Unimpeded by railings and 'staff only' warnings
Untempted by the lure of the nightlife at Whitley Bay.
Kyrie Eleison for the Gift Shop and its selection of erasers
Christe Eleison for the coastguard's house and his lookout on the sea
Kyrie Eleison for the mountings of the Second World War cannons.
Lord have mercy for the extortionate
£4.50 entry fee.

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Tynemouth, 8 September 1999