In small, murky ponds
that appear each spring
along the ridge crest,
dozens of wood frogs
float through the reflected treetops,
lust blatting from each fat throat.
Get too close and the show stops.
Another step and they vanish
into strings of bubbles.
See Rachel’s blog post (which includes a video of the wood frogs in one of the vernal ponds): “Monday is herp day.”
At the office we and Sir W. Rider to advise what sort of provisions to get ready for these ships going to the Indies. Then the Comptroller and I by water to Mr. Coventry, and there discoursed upon the same thing.
So to my coz. Tho. Pepys, and got him to promise me 1,000l. to lend my Lord upon his and my uncle Robert’s and my security. So to my Lord’s, and there got him to sign a bond to him, which I also signed too, and he did sign counter security to us both.
Then into London up and down and drank a pint of wine with Mr. Creed, and so home and sent a letter and the bonds to my uncle to sign for my Lord.
This day I spoke with Dr. Castle about making up the dividend for the last quarter, and agreed to meet about it on Monday.
What sort of vision is ours?
The same thing: my security
and a pint of wine.
This castle for greed.
Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Saturday 30 March 1661.
Up among my workmen with great pleasure.
Then to the office, where I found Sir W. Pen sent down yesterday to Chatham to get two great ships in readiness presently to go to the East Indies upon some design against the Dutch, we think, at Goa but it is a great secret yet.
Dined at home, came Mr. Shepley and Moore, and did business with both of them. After that to Sir W. Batten’s, where great store of company at dinner. Among others my schoolfellow, Mr. Christmas, where very merry, and hither came letters from above for the fitting of two other ships for the East Indies in all haste, and so we got orders presently for the Hampshire and Nonsuch. Then home and there put some papers in order, and not knowing what to do, the house being so dirty, I went to bed.
I go to the Indies
on business with Christ
in the ship, and I an ape
not knowing the dirt.
Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Friday 29 March 1661.
Up early among my workmen, then Mr. Creed coming to see me I went along with him to Sir Robert Slingsby (he being newly maister of that title by being made a Baronett) to discourse about Mr. Creed’s accounts to be made up, and from thence by coach to my cozen Thomas Pepys, to borrow 1000l. for my Lord, which I am to expect an answer to tomorrow. So to my Lord’s, and there staid and dined, and after dinner did get my Lord to view Mr. Shepley’s accounts as I had examined them, and also to sign me a bond for my 500l.
Then with Mr. Shepley to the Theatre and saw “Rollo” ill acted. That done to drink a cup of ale and so by coach to London, and having set him down in Cheapside I went home, where I found a great deal of work done to-day, and also 70l. paid me by the Treasurer upon the bill of exchange that I have had hopes of so long, so that, my heart in great content; I went to bed.
Work is a net
made of ale and cheap hopes,
my heart in a tent.
Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Thursday 28 March 1661.
The March winds
have blown wet snow
sideways against the trees—
look in one direction
and the woods are white;
in the other, brown.
The snow sticks to our boot soles,
lifting like lids
from jars full of spring.
Up early to see my workmen at work. My brother Tom comes to me, and among other things I looked over my old clothes and did give him a suit of black stuff clothes and a hat and some shoes.
At the office all the morning, where Sir G. Carteret comes, and there I did get him to promise me some money upon a bill of exchange, whereby I shall secure myself of 60l. which otherwise I should not know how to get.
At noon I found my stairs quite broke down, that I could not get up but by a ladder; and my wife not being well she kept her chamber all this day.
To the Dolphin to a dinner of Mr. Harris’s, where Sir Williams both and my Lady Batten, and her two daughters, and other company, where a great deal of mirth, and there staid till 11 o’clock at night; and in our mirth I sang and sometimes fiddled (there being a noise of fiddlers there), and at last we fell to dancing, the first time that ever I did in my life, which I did wonder to see myself to do. At last we made Mingo, Sir W. Batten’s black, and Jack, Sir W. Pen’s, dance, and it was strange how the first did dance with a great deal of seeming skill.
Home, where I found my wife all day in her chamber. So to bed.
A black hat
and some shoes
could not get up
a ladder, and fell
the first dance,
the first great kill.
Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Wednesday 27 March 1661.
It’s the first petrichor of spring—
that musk the soil gives off after rain,
strongest when long delayed.
So who wouldn’t choose
a day like today for dancing?
Side by side, cackling softly,
the two pileated woodpeckers
hitch their way down a tall locust tree
all the way to the ground.
For a fuller description (and pictures) of this unusual pileated behavior, see Rachel’s blog post.
Up early to do business in my study.
This is my great day that three years ago I was cut of the stone, and, blessed be God, I do yet find myself very free from pain again. All this morning I staid at home looking after my workmen to my great content about my stairs, and at noon by coach to my father’s, where Mrs. Turner, The, Joyce, Mr. Morrice, Mr. Armiger, Mr. Pierce, the surgeon, and his wife, my father and mother, and myself and my wife.
Very merry at dinner; among other things, because Mrs. Turner and her company eat no flesh at all this Lent, and I had a great deal of good flesh which made their mouths water.
After dinner Mrs. Pierce and her husband and I and my wife to Salisbury Court, where coming late he and she light of Col. Boone that made room for them, and I and my wife sat in the pit, and there met with Mr. Lewes and Tom Whitton, and saw “The Bondman” done to admiration. So home by coach, and after a view of what the workmen had done to-day I went to bed.
Three years ago I was stone,
free from pain, content—
no joy or urge.
I had a great deal of light,
and I sat.
Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Tuesday 26 March 1661.
Most of the goldenrods still standing
at winter’s end are topped
by the empty habitations of wasps.
Dried half-pods of milkweed
cluster three to a stalk,
a Baroque superfluity of arch and wing.
From the woods, a drumming grouse
reminds me what real wings can do—
that accelerating heartbeat.
After a hundred years of reaching
for the same, small portion
of filtered sunlight,
these three witch hazel trunks
have begun to merge. The ground bulges
over their common roots.
Back home, you stretch
a measuring tape from hand to hand
along your outstretched arms.