Lay long in bed talking and pleasing myself with my wife. So up and to my office a while and then home, where I found Pembleton, and by many circumstances I am led to conclude that there is something more than ordinary between my wife and him, which do so trouble me that I know not at this very minute that I now write this almost what either I write or am doing, nor how to carry myself to my wife in it, being unwilling to speak of it to her for making of any breach and other inconveniences, nor let it pass for fear of her continuing to offend me and the matter grow worse thereby. So that I am grieved at the very heart, but I am very unwise in being so.
There dined with me Mr. Creed and Captain Grove, and before dinner I had much discourse in my chamber with Mr. Deane, the builder of Woolwich, about building of ships. But nothing could get the business out of my head, I fearing that this afternoon by my wife’s sending every [one] abroad and knowing that I must be at the office she has appointed him to come. This is my devilish jealousy, which I pray God may be false, but it makes a very hell in my mind, which the God of heaven remove, or I shall be very unhappy. So to the office, where we sat awhile.
By and by my mind being in great trouble I went home to see how things were, and there I found as I doubted Mr. Pembleton with my wife, and nobody else in the house, which made me almost mad, and going up to my chamber after a turn or two I went out again and called somebody on pretence of business and left him in my little room at the door (it was the Dutchman, commander of the King’s pleasure boats, who having been beat by one of his men sadly, was come to the office to-day to complain) telling him I would come again to him to speak with him about his business. So in great trouble and doubt to the office, and Mr. Coventry nor Sir G. Carteret being there I made a quick end of our business and desired leave to be gone, pretending to go to the Temple, but it was home, and so up to my chamber, and as I think if they had any intention of hurt I did prevent doing anything at that time, but I continued in my chamber vexed and angry till he went away, pretending aloud, that I might hear, that he could not stay, and Mrs. Ashwell not being within they could not dance. And, Lord! to see how my jealousy wrought so far that I went softly up to see whether any of the beds were out of order or no, which I found not, but that did not content me, but I staid all the evening walking, and though anon my wife came up to me and would have spoke of business to me, yet I construed it to be but impudence, and though my heart full yet I did say nothing, being in a great doubt what to do. So at night, suffered them to go all to bed, and late put myself to bed in great discontent, and so to sleep.

I write what I write
being unwilling to speak

the heart is the devil I pray to
nobody else made me beat

in the quick red time
of an evening walk

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Tuesday 26 May 1663.

I am a loner drawn to multiplicity.
I like it when things change but stay the same,
as a village in Italy creeps around and around a hill.
In reflections I see another world – or is it this one?
Over and over, bees and birds in flight and swimming fish –
patterns repeat, both infinite and contained,
shapes tumble into creatures, houses, streets and shapes again.
When each thing separates and all things coalesce I am complete.
Shapes tumble into creatures, houses, streets and shapes again,
patterns repeat, both infinite and contained –
over and over, bees and birds in flight and swimming fish.
In reflections I see another world – or is it this one?
As a village in Italy creeps around and around a hill,
I like it when things change but stay the same.
I am a loner drawn to multiplicity.


Escher's "Metamorphosis II"
Maurits Escher: Metamorphosis II

Inspired by Via Negativa: In the beginning and Fractal (this time the shape).

Up, and my pill working a little I staid within most of the morning, and by and by the barber came and Sarah Kite my cozen, poor woman, came to see me and borrow 40s. of me, telling me she will pay it at Michaelmas again to me. I was glad it was no more, being indifferent whether she pays it me or no, but it will be a good excuse to lend her nor give her any more. So I did freely at first word do it, and give her a crown more freely to buy her child something, she being a good-natured and painful wretch, and one that I would do good for as far as I can that I might not be burdened.
My wife was not ready, and she coming early did not see her, and I was glad of it.
She gone, I up and then hear that my wife and her maid Ashwell had between them spilled the pot of piss and turd upon the floor and stool and God knows what, and were mighty merry making of it clean. I took no great notice, but merrily.
Ashwell did by and by come to me with an errand from her mistress to desire money to buy a country suit for her against she goes as we talked last night, and so I did give her 4l., and believe it will cost me the best part of 4 more to fit her out, but with peace and honour I am willing to spare anything so as to be able to keep all ends together, and my power over her undisturbed.
So to my office and by and by home, where my wife and her master were dancing, and so I staid in my chamber till they had done, and sat down myself to try a little upon the Lyra viall, my hand being almost out, but easily brought to again. So by and by to dinner, and then carried my wife and Ashwell to St. James’s, and there they sat in the coach while I went in, and finding nobody there likely to meet with the Duke, but only Sir J. Minnes with my Lord Barkely (who speaks very kindly, and invites me with great compliments to come now and then and eat with him, which I am glad to hear, though I value not the thing, but it implies that my esteem do increase rather than fall), and so I staid not, but into the coach again, and taking up my wife’s taylor, it raining hard, they set me down, and who should our coachman be but Carleton the Vintner, that should have had Mrs. Sarah, at Westminster, my Lord Chancellor’s, and then to Paternoster Row. I staid there to speak with my Lord Sandwich, and in my staying, meeting Mr. Lewis Phillips of Brampton, he and afterwards others tell me that news came last night to Court, that the King of France is sick of the spotted fever, and that they are struck in again; and this afternoon my Lord Mandeville is gone from the King to make him a visit; which will be great news, and of great import through Europe.
By and by, out comes my Lord Sandwich, and he and I talked a great while about his business, of his accounts for his pay, and among other things he told me that this day a vote hath passed that the King’s grants of land to my Lord Monk and him should be made good; which pleases him very well.
He also tells me that things don’t go right in the House with Mr. Coventry; I suppose he means in the business of selling of places; but I am sorry for it. Thence by coach home, where I found Pembleton, and so I up to dance with them till the evening, when there came Mr. Alsopp, the King’s brewer, and Lanyon of Plymouth to see me. Mr. Alsopp tells me of a horse of his that lately, after four days’ pain, voided at his fundament four stones, bigger than that I was cut of, very heavy, and in the middle of each of them either a piece of iron or wood. The King has two of them in his closett, and a third the College of Physicians to keep for rarity, and by the King’s command he causes the turd of the horse to be every day searched to find more.
At night to see Sir W. Batten come home this day from Portsmouth. I met with some that say that the King of France is poisoned, but how true that is is not known. So home to supper and to bed pleasant.

working a kite
the burden of power in my hand

almost out but easily
brought to again

her body like a peak invites me
to teem rather than fall


news came last night
of a fever for land

a mad thing
the business of selling places

stones to keep for rarity
in the mouth

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Monday 25 May 1663.

Off in the woods, the glint of old glass.
Light another spear glancing off what’s shorn.
What they mean when they say fractal:
all the selves, never discarded; only spun,
differently colored, blue with memory or amber
from what filled and filled and sometimes emptied.
Hand, mouth, head. Isn’t that what fragments are for?
From what filled and filled and sometimes emptied
differently colored, blue with memory or amber:
all the selves, never discarded; only spun.
What they mean when they say fractal:
light another spear glancing off what’s shorn;
off in the woods, the glint of old glass.


In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.

A bird is the beginning
of many leaves

the first line of a scroll,
ink in the heart of the tree
before rain carried a sound
for sorrow,
before the first word found
the first poet:
before the first word found
for sorrow,
before rain carried a sound;
ink in the heart of the tree,
the first line of a scroll
of many leaves—
a bird is the beginning.


In response to Via Negativa: Ornithography.

The Swan, a painting by Hilma af Klint

my love is a tight
white glove
fitted to your whole body
cast it not off

wear this for me
so I can caress
you all over and leave
no telling trace

on your actual
sweet skin
so rosy and glowing
it dazzles me

this barrier between us
soothes me
its close fit ensures no
loss of sensation

you are a white swan
pirouetting on points
far above
my grubby love

encased in your white glove
you can touch
but not be touched as
best befits you

you can handle
the dusty old leaves
of an illuminated book
look but not be sullied

you can perform magic
pull from your tall hat
all the white rabbits
we require

you can attend a polite
old fashioned party
converse and drink milky tea
with an adoring me

oh dear one
don’t disdain my love
can’t you see it fits you
like a glove

Image: Hilma af Klint,
The Swan (1914).

(Lord’s day). Having taken one of Mr. Holliard’s pills last night it brought a stool or two this morning, and so forebore going to church this morning, but staid at home looking over my papers about Tom Trice’s business, and so at noon dined, and my wife telling me that there was a pretty lady come to church with Peg Pen to-day, I against my intention had a mind to go to church to see her, and did so, and she is pretty handsome. But over against our gallery I espied Pembleton, and saw him leer upon my wife all the sermon, I taking no notice of him, and my wife upon him, and I observed she made a curtsey to him at coming out without taking notice to me at all of it, which with the consideration of her being desirous these two last Lord’s days to go to church both forenoon and afternoon do really make me suspect something more than ordinary, though I am loth to think the worst, but yet it put and do still keep me at a great loss in my mind, and makes me curse the time that I consented to her dancing, and more my continuing it a second month, which was more than she desired, even after I had seen too much of her carriage with him. But I must have patience and get her into the country, or at least to make an end of her learning to dance as soon as I can. After sermon to Sir W. Pen’s, with Sir J. Minnes to do a little business to answer Mr. Coventry to-night. And so home and with my wife and Ashwell into the garden walking a great while, discoursing what this pretty wench should be by her garb and deportment; with respect to Mrs. Pen she may be her woman, but only that she sat in the pew with her, which I believe he would not let her do.
So home, and read to my wife a fable or two in Ogleby’s AEsop, and so to supper, and then to prayers and to bed. My wife this evening discoursing of making clothes for the country, which I seem against, pleading lack of money, but I am glad of it in some respects because of getting her out of the way from this fellow, and my own liberty to look after my business more than of late I have done. So to prayers and to bed.
This morning it seems Susan, who I think is distracted, or however is since she went from me taught to drink, and so gets out of doors 2 or 3 times a day without leave to the alehouse, did go before 5 o’clock to-day, making Griffin rise in his shirt to let her out to the alehouse, she said to warm herself, but her mistress, falling out with her about it, turned her out of doors this morning, and so she is gone like an idle slut. I took a pill also this night.

I take a pill for a wife
a pretty lady made of loss and ash

what a fable this is
getting her out of the way to drink

O door without a house
door gone like a pill

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Sunday 24 May 1663.

Coming home today my daughter
startled in her tracks exclaims

at the wrinkled, pruney body
and its tufts of raggedy

beginning feathers, patches
of pink-grey flesh underneath:

some freak wind has blown
this nest of twigs and dry matter

out of a tree— which? And now,
this not even fledged and beating

thing is trembling at our feet.
Gently we pick it up and lay it

back in the nest, or that part
most unbroken; then set the whole

into a shoebox lined with dish
towels and some leaves. Its mother

is nowhere to be found— lost,
or herself perished? The feathers

are very recent growth: charcoal
smudge, faint five-o’-clock shadow.

Though there are possible
forms of intervention,

not knowing what kind of bird—
seed eater or not?— makes it hard.

It’s breathing, but barely.
This much we know: there’s a fig

tree in back under whose leaves
we could dig a hole to bury it,

should it sink into that final
abandonment— but not just yet.


In response to Via Negativa: Tarantism.

Waked this morning between four and five by my blackbird, which whistles as well as ever I heard any; only it is the beginning of many tunes very well, but there leaves them, and goes no further. So up and to my office, where we sat, and among other things I had a fray with Sir J. Minnes in defence of my Will in a business where the old coxcomb would have put a foot upon him, which was only in Jack Davis and in him a downright piece of knavery in procuring a double ticket and getting the wrong one paid as well as the second was to the true party. But it appeared clear enough to the board that Will was true in it. Home to dinner, and after dinner by water to the Temple, and there took my Lyra Viall book bound up with blank paper for new lessons. Thence to Greatorex’s, and there seeing Sir J. Minnes and Sir W. Pen go by coach I went in to them and to White Hall; where, in the Matted Gallery, Mr. Coventry was, who told us how the Parliament have required of Sir G. Carteret and him an account what money shall be necessary to be settled upon the Navy for the ordinary charge, which they intend to report 200,000l. per annum. And how to allott this we met this afternoon, and took their papers for our perusal, and so we parted. Only there was walking in the gallery some of the Barbary company, and there we saw a draught of the arms of the company, which the King is of, and so is called the Royall Company, which is, in a field argent an elephant proper, with a canton on which England and France is quartered, supported by two Moors. The crest an anchor winged, I think it is, and the motto too tedious: “Regio floret, patrocinio commercium, commercioque Regnum.”
Thence back by water to Greatorex’s, and there he showed me his varnish which he had invented, which appears every whit as good, upon a stick which he hath done, as the Indian, though it did not do very well upon my paper ruled with musique lines, for it sunk and did not shine. Thence home by water, and after a dance with Pembleton to my office and wrote by the post to Sir W. Batten at Portsmouth to send for him up against next Wednesday, being our triall day against Field at Guildhall, in which God give us good end. So home: to supper and to bed.

a bird is the beginning
of many leaves

getting a book with blank paper
I saw a wing sunk in a field

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Saturday 23 May 1663.

Up pretty betimes, and shall, I hope, come to myself and business again, after a small playing the truant, for I find that my interest and profit do grow daily, for which God be praised and keep me to my duty.
To my office, and anon one tells me that Rundall, the house-carpenter of Deptford, hath sent me a fine blackbird, which I went to see. He tells me he was offered 20s. for him as he came along, he do so whistle.
So to my office, and busy all the morning, among other things, learning to understand the course of the tides, and I think I do now do it.
At noon Mr. Creed comes to me, and he and I to the Exchange, where I had much discourse with several merchants, and so home with him to dinner, and then by water to Greenwich, and calling at the little alehouse at the end of the town to wrap a rag about my little left toe, being new sore with walking, we walked pleasantly to Woolwich, in our way hearing the nightingales sing. So to Woolwich yard, and after doing many things there, among others preparing myself for a dispute against Sir W. Pen in the business of Bowyer’s, wherein he is guilty of some corruption to the King’s wrong, we walked back again without drinking, which I never do because I would not make my coming troublesome to any, nor would become obliged too much to any. In our going back we were overtook by Mr. Steventon, a purser, and uncle to my clerk Will, who told me how he was abused in the passing of his accounts by Sir J. Minnes to the degree that I am ashamed to hear it, and resolve to retrieve the matter if I can though the poor man has given it over. And however am pleased enough to see that others do see his folly and dotage as well as myself, though I believe in my mind the man in general means well.
Took boat at Greenwich and to Deptford, where I did the same thing, and found Davis, the storekeeper, a knave, and shuffling in the business of Bewpers, being of the party with Young and Whistler to abuse the King, but I hope I shall be even with them. So walked to Redriffe, drinking at the Half-way house, and so walked and by water to White Hall, all our way by water coming and going reading a little book said to be writ by a person of Quality concerning English gentry to be preferred before titular honours, but the most silly nonsense, no sense nor grammar, yet in as good words that ever I saw in all my life, but from beginning to end you met not with one entire and regular sentence.
At White Hall Sir G. Carteret was out of the way, and so returned back presently, and home by water and to bed.

the carpenter sent me a blackbird
to whistle in the house
so pleasant to hear

nightingales sing out back
and I hear the poor thing shuffling
to riff on a life sentence

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Friday 22 May 1663.