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.

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Dave Bonta (bio) crowd-sources his problems by following his gut, which he shares with 100 trillion of his closest microbial friends — a close-knit, symbiotic community comprising several thousand species of bacteria, fungi, and protozoa. In a similarly collaborative fashion, all of Dave’s writing is available for reuse and creative remix under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License. For attribution in printed material, his name (Dave Bonta) will suffice, but for web use, please link back to the original. Contact him for permission to waive the “share alike” provision (e.g. for use in a conventionally copyrighted work).


  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.


    1. Thanks. Good to hear you’re getting that impression — I am too. It’s closer to Blake than Pepys, I think.


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