Under an umbrella

(Lord’s day). In the morning we were troubled to hear it rain as it did, because of the great show tomorrow. After I was ready I walked to my father’s and there found the late maid to be gone and another come by my mother’s choice, which my father do not like, and so great difference there will be between my father and mother about it. Here dined Doctor Thos. Pepys and Dr. Fayrebrother; and all our talk about to-morrow’s show, and our trouble that it is like to be a wet day.
After dinner comes in my coz. Snow and his wife, and I think stay there till the show be over. Then I went home, and all the way is so thronged with people to see the triumphal arches, that I could hardly pass for them.
So home, people being at church, and I got home unseen, and so up to my chamber and saw done these last five or six days’ diarys.
My mind a little troubled about my workmen, which, being foreigners, are like to be troubled by a couple of lazy rogues that worked with me the other day, that are citizens, and so my work will be hindered, but I must prevent it if I can.

In the ear, rain
like a great throng
that could pass for unseen diaries,
my mind a foreigner
troubled by rogue citizens.


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Sunday 21 April 1661.

3 Comments


  1. “Good eye,” I guess, is the least that can be said for a fine erasure poem. This one makes such fine, subtle connections.

    I’m starting to see some benefits from erasure poems, though I’ve written very few. I’d never have thought of “that could pass for” here. I’d also never think of “trouble the water” in your poem “The fog of peace” below. (I like to think I’d have avoided “muddy the water,” but I doubt I’d have come up with something as strong as “trouble” without writing an erasure poem on a very good day.)

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    1. Yes, that’s just it. It forces one out of the familiar ruts. I think it helps that I’m unusually stubborn: once I decide more or less what I want to say, I tend not to give up until I find some way of saying it, no matter how round-about. And it’s the round-aboutness that has the potential to make strange (in a good way, if we’re lucky). So for example in this one the lack of an “of” where I needed it forced to me go with “that could pass for,” with results that are at least interesting, I think.

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