Up early to put things in order in my chamber, and then to my Lord’s, with whom I spoke about several things, and so up and down in several places about business with Mr. Creed, among others to Mr. Wotton’s the shoemaker, and there drank our morning draft, and then home about noon, and by and by comes my father by appointment to dine with me, which we did very merrily, I desiring to make him as merry as I can, while the poor man is in town. After dinner comes my uncle Wight and sat awhile and talked with us, and thence we three to the Mum House at Leadenhall, and there sat awhile. Then I left them, and to the Wardrobe, where I found my Lord gone to Hampton Court. Here I staid all the afternoon till late with Creed and Captain Ferrers, thinking whether we should go to-morrow together to Hampton Court, but Ferrers his wife coming in by and by to the house with the young ladies (with whom she had been abroad), she was unwilling to go, whereupon I was willing to put off our going, and so home, but still my mind was hankering after our going to-morrow. So to bed.

Thin things:
lace in a shoe,
a noon appointment,
a poor-house robe,
a reed
and the road I still
hanker after.


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Wednesday 28 May 1662.

middle of dry season, nomadic traders passing through,
their children (no taller than we were) driving drought-
thinned cattle up toward the plateau, and we would
follow after at a distance with our razorblades in hand,

look for gems, butterflies pressed flat by passing
hooves, incise the dry clay beneath and lift them,
save them on small trays, carry them to an artist who
affixed them to white paper — or, for those largest

and most perfect, crushed black velvet in a frame —
collage them into women, the women we hoped
we’d grow to be: proud women in bright wrappers
with large headscarves, grace and balance carrying

bundled firewood, calabashes of gathered greens,
clay pots of water on their heads, women with
their sleeping children snugged tight behind their
shoulders, women at the mortar pounding yam


A childhood memory prompted by an entry at The Morning Porch. To see samples of this type of wing collage, search for “vintage African butterfly art women” in Google – Images.

To my Lord this morning, and thence to my brother’s, where I found my father, poor man, come, which I was glad to see. I staid with him till noon, and then he went to my cozen Scott’s to dinner, who had invited him. He tells me his alterations of the house and garden at Brampton, which please me well.
I could not go with him, and so we parted at Ludgate, and I home to dinner, and to the office all the afternoon, and musique in my chamber alone at night, and so to bed.

O the rot
where we invite
use and ease.

We part
after music in
a one-night bed.


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Tuesday 27 May 1662.

The morning porch — mine has no railing
beyond the stems of dandelion, red
and purple clover standing too close
to the concrete to be eaten by the mower.

When the first full burst of light arrives,
sun escapes the tangled brush around
the creek and crests the gambrel
of the barn, these wildflowers cast dark

shadows, charcoal against light gray.
I twist the lid from the small jar of water
that lives beneath the window, reach
for the fine-tip paintbrush on the sill,

begin to fill the silhouettes with water.
I work quickly, make dark marks with this
clear ink. By the time I’ve water-painted
a meter stretch of wildflowers, the sun

has risen further, added another tier to our
collaborative design. Occasional butterflies
alight, stop and sip damp clover before
the shadow blossoms vanish from the sundial.


In response to an entry from The Morning Porch.

(Lord’s day). To trimming myself, which I have this week done every morning, with a pumice stone, which I learnt of Mr. Marsh, when I was last at Portsmouth; and I find it very easy, speedy, and cleanly, and shall continue the practice of it. To church, and heard a good sermon of Mr. Woodcocke’s at our church; only in his latter prayer for a woman in childbed, he prayed that God would deliver her from the hereditary curse of child-bearing, which seemed a pretty strange expression. Dined at home, and Mr. Creed with me. This day I had the first dish of pease I have had this year. After discourse he and I abroad, and walked up and down, and looked into many churches, among others Mr. Baxter’s at Blackfryers. Then to the Wardrobe, where I found my Lord takes physic, so I did not see him, but with Captn. Ferrers in Mr. George Montagu’s coach to Charing Cross; and there at the Triumph tavern he showed me some Portugall ladys, which are come to town before the Queen. They are not handsome, and their farthingales a strange dress. Many ladies and persons of quality come to see them. I find nothing in them that is pleasing; and I see they have learnt to kiss and look freely up and down already, and I do believe will soon forget the recluse practice of their own country. They complain much for lack of good water to drink. So to the Wardrobe back on foot and supped with my Lady, and so home, and after a walk upon the leads with my wife, to prayers and bed.
The King’s guards and some City companies do walk up and down the town these five or six days; which makes me think, and they do say, there are some plots in laying. God keep us.

A stone in a dish of peas,
I have come far.
Ladies look freely
up and down at me
and some walk
up and down the town,
which makes me think.


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Sunday 25 May 1662.