London from Above

Its head is too large, out of proportion to the other members; its face and hands have also grown monstrous, irregular and ‘out of all Shape’. … A body racked with fever, and choked by ashes, it proceeds from plague to fire. —Peter Ackroyd, London: The Biography

Ten thousand red-brown
mouths of chimney pots
gape at us as we descend,
jet engines howling, into the haze—
a mutual amazement.
Here is the yellow air
of our to-and-froing.
Here are the housing estates
and the scrapyards,
groomed swards of a park
and chaotic allotments,
the circling traffic.
There’s the river and
its slick sheen of a carcass.
Plane trees all in a line
make faint, green gestures
with the stumps of their limbs.