The agent called and asked me if I had a preference. I was asked to turn the knob one way for weather and another way for the time of year. At the end of the interview period I returned the cardboard box containing flash cards and brochures, only keeping back the ones that most audibly vibrated in my dreams. The first showed a stone chapel at the end of the world. The second had a fire pit whose flames were made of curling wind. The third held the bones of tiny fish and birds; they snapped open like umbrellas then caught on the edges of the sky when I released them to the air.

Up early. This being, by God’s great blessing, the fourth solemn day of my cutting for the stone this day four years, and am by God’s mercy in very good health, and like to do well, the Lord’s name be praised for it. To the office and Sir G. Carteret’s all the morning about business. At noon come my good guests, Madame Turner, The., and Cozen Norton, and a gentleman, one Mr. Lewin of the King’s LifeGuard; by the same token he told us of one of his fellows killed this morning in a duel. I had a pretty dinner for them, viz., a brace of stewed carps, six roasted chickens, and a jowl of salmon, hot, for the first course; a tanzy and two neats’ tongues, and cheese the second; and were very merry all the afternoon, talking and singing and piping upon the flageolette. In the evening they went with great pleasure away, and I with great content and my wife walked half an hour in the garden, and so home to supper and to bed.
We had a man-cook to dress dinner to-day, and sent for Jane to help us, and my wife and she agreed at 3l. a year (she would not serve under) till both could be better provided, and so she stays with us, and I hope we shall do well if poor Sarah were but rid of her ague.

God’s solemn stone,
like a man killed
in a duel or
a stewed tongue
singing with pleasure,
stays with us
and poor.


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Wednesday 26 March 1662.

Lady Day. All the morning at the office. Dined with my wife at home. Then to the office, where (while Sir Wms both did examine the Victuallers account) I sat in my closet drawing letters and other businesses — being much troubled for want of an order of the Councells lately sent us, about making of boates for some ships now going to Jamaica. At last, late at night, I had a Copy sent me of it by Sir G. Lane from the Council Chamber. With my mind well at ease, home and to supper and bed.

I sat in my closet
drawing ships
going to Jamaica.

Late at night
I had a copy
of my mind.


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Tuesday 25 March 1662.