To Westminster Hall by water in the morning, where I saw the King going in his barge to the Parliament House; this being the first day of their meeting again. And the Bishops, I hear, do take their places in the Lords House this day. I walked long in the Hall, but hear nothing of news, but what Ned Pickering tells me, which I am troubled at, that Sir J. Minnes should send word to the King, that if he did not remove all my Lord Sandwich’s captains out of this fleet, he believed the King would not be master of the fleet at its coming again: and so do endeavour to bring disgrace upon my Lord. But I hope all that will not do, for the King loves him.
Hence by water to the Wardrobe, and dined with my Lady, my Lady Wright being there too, whom I find to be a witty but very conceited woman and proud. And after dinner Mr. Moore and I to the Temple, and there he read my bill and likes it well enough, and so we came back again, he with me as far as the lower end of Cheapside, and there I gave him a pint of sack and parted, and I home, and went seriously to look over my papers touching T. Trice, and I think I have found some that will go near to do me more good in this difference of ours than all I have before. So to bed with my mind cheery upon it, and lay long reading Hobbs his “Liberty and Necessity,” and a little but very shrewd piece, and so to sleep.
To take the place
of news, what word
to bring disgrace?
All love war
like a cheap
pint of cheer.
Reading is a necessity
Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Wednesday 20 November 1661.
No one puts store in dreams now
the way our elders used to do—
Teeth falling out of a mouth
like dice out of a cup: your life
is in gravest danger. Wings of a moth
or a butterfly grazing your cheek: the dead
have remembered something they need to say.
Flying over a sleeping town and touching
the bell-pull in the tower: soon it will
be morning; soon, the night is going.
—Luisa A. Igloria
11 21 2014
In response to Via Negativa: November dusk.
At the office all the morning, and coming home found Mr. Hunt with my wife in the chamber alone, which God forgive me did trouble my head, but remembering that it was washing and that there was no place else with a fire for him to be in, it being also cold weather, I was at ease again. He dined with us, and after dinner took coach and carried him with us as far as my cozen Scott’s, where we set him down and parted, and my wife and I staid there at the christening of my cozens boy, where my cozen Samuel Pepys, of Ireland, and I were godfathers, and I did name the child Samuel. There was a company of pretty women there in the chamber, but we staid not, but went with the minister into another room and eat and drank, and at last, when most of the women were gone, Sam and I went into my cozen Scott, who was got off her bed, and so we staid and talked and were very merry, my she-cozen, Stradwick, being godmother. And then I left my wife to go home by coach, and I walked to the Temple about my law business, and there received a subpoena for T. Trice. I carried it myself to him at the usual house at Doctors Commons and did give it him, and so home and to bed. It cost me 20s., between the midwife and the two nurses to-day.
At the office, all
hunt for ash—no fire.
The company is
another gone god.
I receive a subpoena for it,
give it a bed
between the midwife and the day.
Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Tuesday 19 November 1661.
Once I saw a wishbone
that someone had taken
out of the body of a bird—
She rubbed it clean,
stripped it of any
reminder of flesh,
dipped its ends in gold.
Only the hinge that flew
like an arrow in two
in luster— I loved
that part immediately:
I lavished on it my most
This is the 6000th post at Via Negativa — and also, by a strange coincidence, the fourth anniversary of Luisa’s incredible poem-a-day project! I had to do something by way of commemoration, so I made this video. The haiku (technically, a hokku — and one that was used to lead off a 36-poem linked verse sequence with Basho in 1682) is difficult to translate because much is alluded to rather than stated outright. But with the help of Earl Miner’s notes from The Monkey’s Straw Raincoat and Other Poems of the Basho School (Princeton, 1981), I gave it my best shot. Kikaku was arguably Basho’s greatest disciple.
we’re poetry vendors
life’s too short to worry about money
let’s drink the year out
Takarai Kikaku (1661-1707)
Miner says that Kikaku was alluding to a verse from the famous Chinese poet Du Fu:
I leave debts for drink wherever I go
Since few in any age live to be seventy.
So let us pay homage to the ancient masters who, just like us, longed to live in the moment but worried about money, and diverted themselves with poetry and alcohol as best they could. The footage is from Berlin, but what could be more Japanese than a vending machine or a solar-powered animatronic toy?
“That’s me in the picture. I’m the diversity.” ~ Morgan Parker
Everyone just loves
those beaches of white
sand, your skin the color
of ripe mangos flecked with
the sun’s old gold— And
everyone says Your people
have such admirable industry!
I’m always amazed at how much
you can do with so little!
By the way there are a few
misplaced commas in your
essay. Did you actually
write it all yourself?
Someday you must explain
to me how a writer from
your country can have
not one or two but four
to his name. Are you
all right, my co-workers ask
the day after Typhoon Haiyan,
lowered voices tiptoeing
around my cubicle. How are
your family? It must break
your heart. It does, it always
does, though I may not be
—Luisa A. Igloria
11 18 2014
In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.
By coach with Sir W. Pen; my wife and I toward Westminster, but seeing Mr. Moore in the street I light and he and I went to Mr. Battersby’s the minister, in my way I putting in at St. Paul’s, where I saw the quiristers in their surplices going to prayers, and a few idle poor people and boys to hear them, which is the first time I have seen them, and am sorry to see things done so out of order, and there I received 50l. more, which make up 100l. that I now have borrowed of him, and so I did burn the old bond for 50l., and paying him the use of it did make a new bond for the whole 100l. Here I dined and had a good dinner, and his wife a good pretty woman. There was a young Parson at the table that had got himself drunk before dinner, which troubled me to see.
After dinner to Mr. Bowers at Westminster for my wife, and brought her to the Theatre to see “Philaster,” which I never saw before, but I found it far short of my expectations. So by coach home.
the light is going
a few idle boys burn a table
for the heat
Erasure haiku derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Monday 18 November 1661.
Cold onigiri in the shape of the toilet seat
you never remember to lower after use.
Two stacked tiers of uncooked rice, and a child-size pair
of chopsticks. Spill one grain, do not pass go. Return to start.
Fish bones picked clean, for the one who wants
to have the last word always.
This is a kind of seaweed; its local name
means “pubic hair.”
You can learn how syntax makes things interesting:
as for instance, reversing the ratio of sour plums to rice.
Call it neglect, call it art
bred from meaningful accident.
Deep fried, crisp, still perfectly
taloned: the insect is my emissary.
—Luisa A. Igloria
11 18 2014
In response to Revenge Bento.
(Lord’s day). To our own church, and at noon, by invitation, Sir W. Pen dined with me, and I took Mrs. Hester, my Lady Batten’s kinswoman, to dinner from church with me, and we were very merry. So to church again, and heard a simple fellow upon the praise of Church musique, and exclaiming against men’s wearing their hats on in the church, but I slept part of the sermon, till latter prayer and blessing and all was done without waking which I never did in my life. So home, and by and by comes my uncle Wight and my aunt and Mr. Norbury and his lady, and we drank hard and were very merry till supper time, and then we parted, my wife and I being invited to Sir W. Pen’s, where we also were very merry, and so home to prayers and to bed.
A simple church:
men in hats blessing
I bury my pen
and pray to Bed.
Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Sunday 17 November 1661.
At the office all the morning. Dined at home, and so about my business in the afternoon to the Temple, where I found my Chancery bill drawn against T. Trice, which I read and like it, and so home.
Ice all about.
In the temple, I found Chance
drawn like a home.
Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Saturday 16 November 1661.