When the Courtauld Art Gallery
wanted to build a new toilet facility

and the builders set to work on the ground
they suddenly and quite unexpectedly found

an ancient cesspit in the exact same spot
so whether they wanted to or not

they called in a team of museum archaeologists
who decided it wasn’t bottomless

(or was, currently,
and only temporarily)

but an ancient hole, four or five metres in depth
and just about the same in breadth

a giant, stone lined toilet pit
where grunting medieval bishops used to sit

and empty their guts into the void
before the services for which they were employed

and over the years a whole load of stuff went in
a spur, a dish, a bone-handled fork, a ring

now those malodorous palaces are gone
consumed by the magnificent City of London

and we rinse off the wine jugs and the condiment bowls
then call in the cement trucks and line up the holes


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