(Lord’s day). To our own church in the forenoon, and in the afternoon to Clerkenwell Church, only to see the two fayre Botelers; and I happened to be placed in the pew where they afterwards came to sit, but the pew by their coming being too full, I went out into the next, and there sat, and had my full view of them both, but I am out of conceit now with them, Colonel Dillon being come back from Ireland again, and do still court them, and comes to church with them, which makes me think they are not honest. Hence to Graye’s-Inn walks, and there staid a good while; where I met with Ned Pickering, who told me what a great match of hunting of a stagg the King had yesterday; and how the King tired all their horses, and come home with not above two or three able to keep pace with him. So to my father’s, and there supped, and so home.
Too full, I went out
into the full land
and stayed to eat
a tired horse
not able to keep pace
with my fat.
Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Sunday 11 August 1661.
“I am fierce as ivy…” ~ D. Bonta
When the levels rise, it isn’t just the sea that’s changing.
In the cauldron, more things than climate are simmering.
Flex your fingers; open and close your fists while you sit on a cushion,
trying to breathe. Try to keep the green from rising into your eyes.
Try to keep down whatever’s pushing out of the container van of your chest,
each shipping box inside crammed full by volume and not by weight.
When sinews snap their binding threads, what buttons or stays
could keep the linen from tearing? Beneath the moon, the brute
that lived just under your skin lets loose its syllable
of long-drawn-out pain. What manner of stitch, what hot
glue gun could mend the holding cell after the break? Call
it home, make of one perfect tear an amulet for it to wear.
In response to Via Negativa: Displaced.
This morning came the maid that my wife hath lately hired for a chamber maid. She is very ugly, so that I cannot care for her, but otherwise she seems very good. But however she do come about three weeks hence, when my wife comes back from Brampton, if she go with my father.
By and by came my father to my house, and so he and I went and found out my uncle Wight at the Coffee House, and there did agree with him to meet the next week with my uncle Thomas and read over the Captain’s will before them both for their satisfaction.
Having done with him I went to my Lady’s and dined with her, and after dinner took the two young gentlemen and the two ladies and carried them and Captain Ferrers to the Theatre, and shewed them “The merry Devill of Edmunton,” which is a very merry play, the first time I ever saw it, which pleased me well. And that being done I took them all home by coach to my house and there gave them fruit to eat and wine. So by water home with them, and so home myself.
Ugly as a faction,
I took to the heat
and the devil saw me.
He gave me
Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Saturday 10 August 1661.
To the office, where word is brought me by a son-in-law of Mr. Pierces; the purser, that his father is a dying and that he desires that I would come to him before he dies. So I rose from the table and went, where I found him not so ill as I thought that he had been ill. So I did promise to be a friend to his wife and family if he should die, which was all he desired of me, but I do believe he will recover.
Back again to the office, where I found Sir G. Carteret had a day or two ago invited some of the officers to dinner to-day at Deptford. So at noon, when I heard that he was a-coming, I went out, because I would see whether he would send to me or no to go with them; but he did not, which do a little trouble me till I see how it comes to pass. Although in other things I am glad of it because of my going again to-day to the Privy Seal.
I dined at home, and having dined news is brought by Mr. Hater that his wife is now falling into labour, so he is come for my wife, who presently went with him.
I to White Hall, where, after four o’clock, comes my Lord Privy Seal, and so we went up to his chamber over the gate at White Hall, where he asked me what deputacon I had from My Lord. I told him none; but that I am sworn my Lord’s deputy by both of the Secretarys, which did satisfy him. So he caused Mr. Moore to read over all the bills as is the manner, and all ended very well. So that I see the Lyon is not so fierce as he is painted.
That being done Mons. Eschar (who all this afternoon had been waiting at the Privy Seal for the Warrant for 5,000l. for my Lord of Sandwich’s preparation for Portugal) and I took some wine with us and went to visit la belle Pierce, who we find very big with child, and a pretty lady, one Mrs. Clifford, with her, where we staid and were extraordinary merry. From thence I took coach to my father’s, where I found him come home this day from Brampton (as I expected) very well, and after some discourse about business and it being very late I took coach again home, where I hear by my wife that Mrs. Hater is not yet delivered, but continues in her pains.
So to bed.
come to me
in other things.
I am falling into
a white sea, I am
fierce as ivy and very
big with child.
I expect to live
Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Friday 9 August 1661.
Summer simmers down, but it isn’t
all gone. So drink slowly, drink
everything, down to the thick,
dark sludge at the bottom
of the cup. Out in the fields,
find what remains when the grain
has separated from the chaff.
Though there might not be much
time left, walk to the end
of the street just to see
how the river is tinged
with colors of fire:
loveliest surface that never rests,
that flares like a beacon in war,
brightest before night comes down.
In response to Via Negativa: War Dance.
This craft is about to criss-cross the most recently identified space fraught with tension and unrest. Do you see where blocks of citizens have formed chains and living fences overnight, and where police lines demarcate the outer limits with banks of tear gas? If any passengers wish to access the fast food counter or the rest rooms at this precise moment, they should know there is a 50% chance of perishing without having arrived at what our limited vocabulary can only hope will approximate sunrise on the rim of a great crater. There is no guarantee of fair trial, or that remains will be bottled and returned to home base. When seized by real panic (as opposed to just your everyday variety of ennui and restlessness), please refrain from mechanically succumbing to the tendency to click on a range of available tactile surfaces wired to digital or electronic outlets. They will fold in on themselves or retract, like language not connected to a visceral source. Some may have been programmed to self-destruct. There are certain things that ideally should be kept close at hand, until the end: first words, last words; our very young, the very old. Your open eyes, the rapidly clicking shutter of the mind; the ability to stand up, look them in the eye, brandish your right to be here and witness.
In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.
Early in the morning to Whitehall, but my Lord Privy Seal came not all the morning. At noon Mr. Moore and I to the Wardrobe to dinner, where my Lady and all merry and well. Back again to the Privy Seal; but my Lord comes not all the afternoon, which made me mad and gives all the world reason to talk of his delaying of business, as well as of his severity and ill using of the Clerks of the Privy Seal. In the evening I took Mons. Eschar and Mr. Moore and Dr. Pierce’s brother (the souldier) to the tavern next the Savoy, and there staid and drank with them. Here I met with Mr. Mage, and discoursing of musique Mons. Eschar spoke so much against the English and in praise of the French that made him mad, and so he went away. After a stay with them a little longer we parted and I home.
War gives the world an ill music
in praise of the mad.
Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Thursday 8 August 1661.
~ after Octavio Paz, “Touch”
search beneath your curtains of green,
your leaves broad enough to cover
our original immodesty.
closes on your mouth,
dense with seeds and secrets.
a mirror’s singular translation,
relay of ripples on a pond’s surface.
Voices delivered in static envelopes
as needles sang through cloth: women
whose fingers sewed bead after bead
on my blouse. Intricate blueprint
on a field dark as night, recipe they
never need rehearse. Whereas I
send my arms through each sleeve, stretch
hems across hips— fumble through syllables,
semaphores to spell out what I want most.
In response to Via Negativa: Farewell to London.
I’m about to begin the long journey back to central Pennsylvania after three months abroad. This last week since our return from holiday in Cornwall has been full of outings with friends and last-minute visits to things we’d meant to see all summer. But I promise some more photos and travel posts after I get settled in at home. My other home, that is.
I’m wondering what I’ll miss most about London, aside from Rachel and my other friends here, and I think it might be that particular, delicious kind of lostness that comes from immersion in a constant stream of sensory inputs and the whirl of cultures, languages and dialects that one can only get in a major city. I’ll miss good beef, street-corner pubs, old Slavic fisherman on the canal path and Muslim families picnicking in the park. I’ll miss sitting like a king in the top level of a lumbering, double-decker bus and watching the endlessly varied streetscapes scroll past.
And what do I most look forward to at the other end of my journey, aside from family? That’s easy: the lush meadows, the forests, and all the singing insects that I’ve missed listening to here — especially the throbbing choruses of northern true katydids that are such a feature of August nights in Pennsylvania. All the distinct dialects of silence.