To Westminster, and at the Parliament door spoke with Mr. Coventry about business, and so to the Wardrobe to dinner, and thence to several places, and so home, where I found Mrs. Pen and Mrs. Rooth and Smith, who played at cards with my wife, and I did give them a barrel of oysters, and had a pullet to supper for them, and when it was ready to come to table, the foolish girl had not the manners to stay and sup with me, but went away, which did vex me cruelly. So I saw her home, and then to supper, and so to musique practice, and to bed.

The war
found a root
at my supper table—
no manners but
a cruel music.


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Wednesday 29 January 1661/62.

This morning (after my musique practice with Mr. Berkenshaw) with my wife to the Paynter’s, where we staid very late to have her picture mended, which at last is come to be very like her, and I think well done; but the Paynter, though a very honest man, I found to be very silly as to matter of skill in shadows, for we were long in discourse, till I was almost angry to hear him talk so simply. So home to dinner and then to the office, and so home for all night.

After music,
the painter at last
is like an honest shadow
angry to hear of night.


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Tuesday 28 January 1661/62.

This morning, both Sir Williams and I by barge to Deptford-yard to give orders in businesses there; and called on several ships, also to give orders, and so to Woolwich, and there dined at Mr. Falconer’s of victuals we carried ourselves, and one Mr. Dekins, the father of my Morena, of whom we have lately bought some hemp. That being done we went home again.
This morning, going to take water upon Tower-hill, we met with three sleddes standing there to carry my Lord Monson and Sir H. Mildmay and another, to the gallows and back again, with ropes about their necks; which is to be repeated every year, this being the day of their sentencing the King.

Give orders
to give orders.
A falcon on the hill or a gallows—
which is king?


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Monday 27 January 1661/62.

My snowshoes are almost as old as I am, but they seem to be holding up well. My parents bought them, along with the pair my Dad still uses, direct from the old craftsman who made them. That was shortly after we moved to Maine in 1967, I think. Down here in central Pennsylvania, some winters go by without any suitable conditions for snowshoeing at all, but here we are still in January and there’s already enough snow — some 13 inches now.

Snowshoeing is kind of the opposite of a sport: it’s slow and ungainly, and doesn’t require any special skills other than the ability to walk. It does let one cross hidden logs and boulders without worrying about twisting an ankle, and in any snow deeper than about mid-calf it’s the only practical way to get around — skis don’t cut it. Snowshoeing for me is a way of feeling connected to the north woods, not to mention to family tradition.

I happened to be filming when a ruffed grouse burst out of the snow right in front of me, and I got some footage of its rapidly disappearing hind end. I had a little more luck filming the somewhat less reclusive old couple I met on the trail.

(Lord’s day). To church in the morning, and then home to dinner alone with my wife, and so both to church in the afternoon and home again, and so to read and talk with my wife, and to supper and to bed.
It having been a very fine clear frosty day — God send us more of them, for the warm weather all this winter makes us fear a sick summer.
But thanks be to God, since my leaving drinking of wine, I do find myself much better and do mind my business better, and do spend less money, and less time lost in idle company.

A morning with fine,
clear frost.
Winter makes us fear,
drink, bet,
sin better and spend
time lost.


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Sunday 26 January 1661/62.