At the office all the morning. Then to the Wardrobe, and there coming late dined with the people below. Then up to my Lady, and staid two hours talking with her about her family business with great content and confidence in me. So calling at several places I went home, where my people are getting the house clean against to-morrow. I to the office and wrote several letters by post, and so home and to bed.
ice in the tent—
a lace where I lean
against the bed
Erasure haiku derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Saturday 29 March 1662.
The tree in the garden
has not yet received news of spring—
stubs of limbs and branches, remainders
of polynomial division.
In the living room,
a small pink light radiates.
I place a cube of ice
in the orchid tray.
The cold that returns
at night reminds us:
all the work we do
is always here.
In response to Via Negativa: Abstract.
Every Monday the sweet
bean curd vendor comes down the street.
No one would want to rise again
if not for his visit.
How long will he keep us
faithful to the days?
The city rains down coins
of bitter dust.
We cover our bowls
with our hands,
coming and going
from dawn to dusk.
In response to Via Negativa: Raw.
(Good Friday). At home all the morning, and dined with my wife, a good dinner. At my office all the afternoon. At night to my chamber to read and sing, and so to supper and to bed.
at home with my wife,
a good ham to read to,
Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Friday 28 March 1662.
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.
Early Sir G. Carteret, both Sir Williams and I by coach to Deptford, it being very windy and rainy weather, taking a codd and some prawnes in Fish Street with us.
We settled to pay the Guernsey, a small ship, but come to a great deal of money, it having been unpaid ever since before the King came in, by which means not only the King pays wages while the ship has lain still, but the poor men have most of them been forced to borrow all the money due for their wages before they receive it, and that at a dear rate, God knows, so that many of them had very little to receive at the table, which grieved me to see it.
To dinner, very merry. Then Sir George to London, and we again to the pay, and that done by coach home again and to the office, doing some business, and so home and to bed.
wind and rain
we settle one by one
at the little table
Erasure haiku derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Thursday 27 March 1662.
Some days I am tired of talk of struggle.
Of the effort it takes, on top of the struggle itself.
Is it really harder to choose, rather, to talk about the minute
clarities etched in the space just between and around my hands?
Long ago, a woman turned my hand over in hers and looked
at the lines etched on the side of my palm.
With a fingernail she traced the life-line
and its many shallow branches down the middle.
Time is a river, we say. Or time is a trail that leads
to that one faraway passage shining like a light in the hills.
And here I will touch the beautiful
splintering wood on the surface of an old table.
In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.
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
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
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.
I never checked the boxes.
Or I checked them all.
Mountain and valley fold.
The creases deep and sharp as blades.
I am all my names. And something more.
Perhaps that’s what is meant by Becoming.
The sales clerk said, helpfully: Sometimes
the size is different depending on the maker.
The lizard sheds the tail
that has been caught in the closing door.
In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.