(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.

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
myself.


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.

Dying
and desire
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
but continue
in pain.
So.


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.

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.

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.

rainy bus ride near Queens Park Station

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.