The Prince-Bishops Castle now become dorms
for Durham University students has the best breakfast
in the wide world: real porridge with honey next to it,
bacon (Canadian style) sausages cooked to perfection
like the exact circles of poached eggs and next to it
special recipe scrambled yellow fluff with beans and
sautéed tomato beside and 5 kinds of very tart yogurt
and fruit galore melon, pineapple, and strawberries
with bread you can cut yourself and toast on conveyor
that gets it golden on both sides with little smoked cheeses
and languorous slices of cheese and sliced salami and ham
until we go out in the great grand dining hall with portraits
of the past and muskets and sabers and armor left over
from the feuds and civil wars arrayed around and way above
us as we sit and try to explain to ourselves how it could be
we Americans have scrapped and apologized our selves
to this Norman cathedral that sits just a little way past
the table end which is the other side of the hill where old
St. Cuthbert (and the Venerable Bede who wrote his story)
are both buried so far from the solitary island where Cuthbert
died alone in a great storm where now only seals and sea birds
                    shriek and cry.


James Van Looy has been a fixture in Boston’s poetry venues since the 1970s. He is a member of Cosmic Spelunker Theater and has run poetry workshops for Boston area homeless people at Pine Street Inn and St. Francis House since 1992. Van Looy leads the Labyrinth Creative Movement Workshop, which his Labyrinth titled poems are based on. His work appears weekly in Oddball Magazine.