It’s funny how things look
From however many thousand feet
One has to be to sail on clouds and see no birds.
And when the clouds burn off, I find a charm in streets €”
Their random pass, the patchwork of man’s world,
The green and brown space, the plaid or checkered shirt,
The crawl of hills as if topography encroached on man
And not the other way around.
I like a well-graphed neighborhood,
The cluster of a town from time to time.
Even cars look innocent from the air, like brilliant gems.
Cities, on the other hand, are better from the street.
Lake Michigan still dwarfs (thank God)
Chicago’s €œskyline, € if not its awful sprawl.
(By heaven! an awful phrase, that:
Shades of Babel, as if the sky were touched at all.)
It is a sea, white-dotted, of blue cloud
That feels eternal from the air €”an immeasurable body, undulant,
That seems from here untouched by our small passing.
It’s different in the ooze, or so I’m told.
So distance and largesse inveigle perception:
Earth bears our abuse, sky our infection,
I know. But still, it’s stunning from up here.
The earth looks mighty good for being old:
Sinews of clear water, veins of human gold.
It’s funny how things look from God’s eye view €”
Like something out of Hopkins: clean, bright, and new.