in the hedge of indeterminate
time: it is the width of a sigh
and the length of an afternoon
siesta, it is the measured rest
vibrating between strings. It is
nothing the metronome can follow
for certain, for want of the tinge
that colors the lining of a nectarine’s
skin. It is the lift between the seat
of a wheelchair and the dark plush
of the theatre’s velvet drape,
the fingers that drum the tempo
of a heart loosed from its cage;
and afterward the slow cascade
toward rippling silence.

My head hath ached all night, and all this morning, with my last night’s debauch.
Called up this morning by Lieutenant Lambert, who is now made Captain of the Norwich, and he and I went down by water to Greenwich, in our way observing and discoursing upon the things of a ship, he telling me all I asked him, which was of good use to me.
There we went and eat and drank and heard musique at the Globe, and saw the simple motion that is there of a woman with a rod in her hand keeping time to the musique while it plays, which is simple, methinks.
Back again by water, calling at Captain Lambert’s house, which is very handsome and neat, and a fine prospect at top. So to the office, where we sat a little, and then the Captain and I again to Bridewell to Mr. Holland’s, where his wife also, a plain dowdy, and his mother was. Here I paid Mrs. Holland the money due from me to her husband. Here came two young gentlewomen to see Mr. Holland, and one of them could play pretty well upon the viallin, but, good God! how these ignorant people did cry her up for it! We were very merry. I staid and supped there, and so home and to bed. The weather very hot, this night I left off my wastecoat.

My ache is
a green thing,
a simple music.
It plays well
on a violin.
But how I cry
for the home
and weather
I left!


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Thursday 6 June 1661.

This morning did give my wife 4l. to lay out upon lace and other things for herself. I to Wardrobe and so to Whitehall and Westminster, where I dined with my Lord and Ned Pickering alone at his lodgings. After dinner to the office, where we sat and did business, and Sir W. Pen and I went home with Sir R. Slingsby to bowls in his ally, and there had good sport, and afterwards went in and drank and talked. So home Sir William and I, and it being very hot weather I took my flageolette and played upon the leads in the garden, where Sir W. Pen came out in his shirt into his leads, and there we staid talking and singing, and drinking great drafts of claret, and eating botargo and bread and butter till 12 at night, it being moonshine; and so to bed, very near fuddled.

I dine with owls
and in hot weather drink
great drafts of moon.


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Wednesday 5 June 1661.

The Comptroller came this morning to get me to go see a house or two near our office, which he would take for himself or Mr. Turner, and then he would have me have Mr. Turner’s lodgings and himself mine and Mr. Davis’s. But the houses did not like us, and so that design at present is stopped.
Then he and I by water to the bridge, and then walked over the Bank-side till we came to the Temple, and so I went over and to my father’s, where I met with my cozen J. Holcroft, and took him and my father and my brother Tom to the Bear tavern and gave them wine, my cozen being to go into the country again to-morrow.
From thence to my Lord Crew’s to dinner with him, and had very good discourse about having of young noblemen and gentlemen to think of going to sea, as being as honourable service as the land war. And among other things he told us how, in Queen Elizabeth’s time, one young nobleman would wait with a trencher at the back of another till he came to age himself. And witnessed in my young Lord of Kent, that then was, who waited upon my Lord Bedford at table, when a letter came to my Lord Bedford that the Earldom of Kent was fallen to his servant, the young Lord; and so he rose from table, and made him sit down in his place, and took a lower for himself, for so he was by place to sit. From thence to the Theatre and saw “Harry the 4th,” a good play. That done I went over the water and walked over the fields to Southwark, and so home and to my lute. At night to bed.

This morning, I would turn
like a bear into the country
and go over the water and over
the fields to home.


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Tuesday 4 June 1661.

To the Wardrobe, where discoursing with my Lord, he did instruct me as to the business of the Wardrobe, in case, in his absence, Mr. Townsend should die, and told me that he do intend to joyne me and Mr. Moore with him as to the business, now he is going to sea, and spoke to me many other things, as to one that he do put the greatest confidence in, of which I am proud. Here I had a good occasion to tell him (what I have had long in my mind) that, since it has pleased God to bless me with something, I am desirous to lay out something for my father, and so have pitched upon Mr. Young’s place in the Wardrobe, which I desired he would give order in his absence, if the place should fall that I might have the refusal. Which my Lord did freely promise me, at which I was very glad, he saying that he would do that at the least. So I saw my Lord into the barge going to Whitehall, and I and Mr. Creed home to my house, whither my father and my cozen Scott came to dine with me, and so we dined together very well, and before we had done in comes my father Bowyer and my mother and four daughters, and a young gentleman and his sister, their friends, and there staid all the afternoon, which cost me great store of wine, and were very merry.
By and by I am called to the office, and there staid a little. So home again, and took Mr. Creed and left them, and so he and I to the Towre, to speak for some ammunition for ships for my Lord; and so he and I, with much pleasure, walked quite round the Towre, which I never did before. So home, and after a walk with my wife upon the leads, I and she went to bed.
This morning I and Dr. Peirce went over to the Beare at the Bridge foot, thinking to have met my Lord Hinchinbroke and his brother setting forth for France; but they being not come we went over to the Wardrobe, and there found that my Lord Abbot Montagu being not at Paris, my Lord hath a mind to have them stay a little longer before they go.

The business of the town
is going to sea, which
it pleased God to lay out
in the absence of wine
or ships, a lead foot
setting forth for France
and a mind to stay longer
before they go.


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Monday 3 June 1661.