On the Contrary

erasure of a page from Samuel Pepys' diary

The land troubles me,
and I am against the sea.
I cry out at the sight of a ship,
and hear bullets go hissing overhead
in a transport of joy.
I perceive unknown letters
in familiar words.
Strange things please me.
I put great confidence in the thoughts
of a thick-skulled fool.
Ordinary business must be
not served but feared.


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Thursday 3 May 1660.

3 Replies to “On the Contrary”

  1. An especially fine one! (In the last lines, a personal mantra.) I feel a coherent personality emerging from these erasures, perhaps Pepys’ own in a cracked glass.

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