In March 1660 the river in spate breached the flood walls
of the Isle of Dogs, an area known formerly as Stebanhythe or Stepney Marsh.The waters formed an inland lake across the Isle’s neck, from Limehouse to the Blackwall Tunnel. This lake was a buried channel, the ancient watercourse
that Nunn identifies as an earlier line of the Thames
before the Flandrian migrations.The Poplar Gut,
or Cut, thus showed a spectral Thames, sans bend,
thrusting through the city; becoming fen, then dock,
then the gleaming towers of Canary Wharf topped with blinking, pyramid eye, and vapour or cloud or both leaking like a thread of silver mucus in the upturned basin of the sky.
Tom Chivers is a British poet, editor and live literature promoter