(Lord’s day). To my aunt Kite’s in the morning to help my uncle Fenner to put things in order against anon for the buriall, and at noon home again; and after dinner to church, my wife and I, and after sermon with my wife to the buriall of my aunt Kite, where besides us and my uncle Fenner’s family, there was none of any quality, but poor rascally people. So we went to church with the corps, and there had service read at the grave, and back again with Pegg Kite who will be, I doubt, a troublesome carrion to us executors; but if she will not be ruled, I shall fling up my executorship. After that home, and Will Joyce along with me where we sat and talked and drank and ate an hour or two, and so he went away and I up to my chamber and then to prayers and to bed.

Lord, my kite,
help my poor corpse
be carrion but not
be ruled,
I pray.


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Sunday 15 September 1661.

At the office all the morning, at noon to the Change, and then home again. To dinner, where my uncle Fenner by appointment came and dined with me, thinking to go together to my aunt Kite’s that is dead; but before we had dined comes Sir R. Slingsby and his lady, and a great deal of company, to take my wife and I out by barge to shew them the King’s and Duke’s yachts. So I was forced to leave my uncle and brother Tom at dinner and go forth with them, and we had great pleasure, seeing all four yachts, viz., these two and the two Dutch ones. And so home again, and after writing letters by post, to bed.

I change
by appointment,
think the dead.

But before the seeing,
the writing.


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Saturday 14 September 1661.

This morning I was sent for by my uncle Fenner to come and advise about the buriall of my aunt, the butcher, who died yesterday; and from thence to the Anchor, by Doctor’s Commons, and there Dr. Williams and I did write a letter for my purpose to Mr. Sedgewick, of Cambridge, about Gravely business, and after that I left him and an attorney with him and went to the Wardrobe, where I found my wife, and thence she and I to the water to spend the afternoon in pleasure; and so we went to old George’s, and there eat as much as we would of a hot shoulder of mutton, and so to boat again and home. So to bed, my mind very full of business and trouble.

For the burial
of an anchor,
let the water eat
as much as a bed
full of trouble.


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Friday 13 September 1661.

Though it was an office day, yet I was forced to go to the Privy Seal, at which I was all the morning, and from thence to my Lady’s to dinner at the Wardrobe; and in my way upon the Thames, I saw the King’s new pleasure-boat that is come now for the King to take pleasure in above bridge; and also two Gundaloes that are lately brought, which are very rich and fine.
After dinner I went into my Lady’s chamber where I found her up now out of her childbed, which I was glad to see, and after an hour’s talk with her I took leave and to Tom Trice again, and sat talking and drinking with him about our business a great while. I do find I am likely to be forced to pay interest for the 200l. By and by in comes my uncle Thomas, and as he was always a close cunning fellow, so he carries himself to me, and says nothing of what his endeavours are, though to my trouble I know that he is about recovering of Gravely, but neither I nor he began any discourse of the business. From thence to Dr. Williams (at the little blind alehouse in Shoe Lane, at the Gridiron, a place I am ashamed to be seen to go into), and there with some bland counsel of his we discuss our matters, but I find men of so different minds that by my troth I know not what to trust to.
It being late I took leave, and by link home and called at Sir W. Batten’s, and there hear that Sir W. Pen do take our jest of the tankard very ill, which I am sorry for.

In my new boat I am glad to leave
business a while
like a cunning fellow in a grave

or a little blind shoe,
ashamed to be bland.


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Thursday 12 September 1661.

It is always the same—
a carnival of rooms,

exit signs
leading deeper

into the labyrinth.
There is no unseamed

clearing, no door
that opens onto

anything else but
corridors of my own

desires. In the corners,
the nervous skitter of flesh

or fur. In the rafters,
a mutiny of wings.

I walk and rest
and walk again,

as daylight tints
the tops of trees

glimpsed through
a vestibule. I eat

the things I find,
I make from twigs

my little fires. I fold
my coat-sleeves underneath

my head to crease
and cradle sleep.

Early to my cozen Thomas Trice to discourse about our affairs, and he did make demand of the 200l. and the interest thereof. But for the 200l. I did agree to pay him, but for the other I did desire to be advised. So from him to Dr. Williams, who did carry me into his garden, where he hath abundance of grapes; and did show me how a dog that he hath do kill all the cats that come thither to kill his pigeons, and do afterwards bury them; and do it with so much care that they shall be quite covered; that if but the tip of the tail hangs out he will take up the cat again, and dig the hole deeper. Which is very strange; and he tells me that he do believe that he hath killed above 100 cats. After he was ready we went up and down to inquire about my affairs and then parted, and to the Wardrobe, and there took Mr. Moore to Tom Trice, who promised to let Mr. Moore have copies of the bond and my aunt’s deed of gift, and so I took him home to my house to dinner, where I found my wife’s brother, Balty, as fine as hands could make him, and his servant, a Frenchman, to wait on him, and come to have my wife to visit a young lady which he is a servant to, and have hope to trepan and get for his wife. I did give way for my wife to go with him, and so after dinner they went, and Mr. Moore and I out again, he about his business and I to Dr. Williams: to talk with him again, and he and I walking through Lincoln’s Fields observed at the Opera a new play, “Twelfth Night” was acted there, and the King there; so I, against my own mind and resolution, could not forbear to go in, which did make the play seem a burthen to me, and I took no pleasure at all in it; and so after it was done went home with my mind troubled for my going thither, after my swearing to my wife that I would never go to a play without her. So that what with this and things going so cross to me as to matters of my uncle’s estate, makes me very much troubled in my mind, and so to bed. My wife was with her brother to see his mistress today, and says she is young, rich, and handsome, but not likely for him to get.

I am a dog, come to kill
that tip of the tail again
and dig the hole deeper.

Strange to so trepan
my own never mind.
My mist is rich.


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Wednesday 11 September 1661.