The Thames at low tide shows its fissured bed,
unseen by those who pass above on London's latest bridge,
or London's winter clouds that hang about, desultory overhead
But for some: Turner, Monet, Whistler, such stirring sights have led
them to translucent views of Bow and Greenwich.
The Thames at low tide shows its fissured bed.
Old boats aground in mud, adrift in fog, their clumsy bulk spread
across canvas like some floating, silk veiled village
or solid chunks of civil engineering ablaze in ochre, flame and red.
Look closely at those paintings now, networks of tiny threads
weave through colour as contour lines on maps define a hill or ridge,
The Thames at low tide shows its fissured bed
As if the water's ebb and flow dictates what should be said
to those few, chosen to bear its timeless message
that all is linked: time, cloud, river tributaries, edges bled.
Now blue chip culture of chrome and metal, glass and fret,
obscure the riverside that Francis Bacon couldn't paint, the image
of the Thames at low tide that shows its fissured bed,
depicting treacherous depths and sinuous surface gleam instead.