holloway overhung with ancient trees n Cornwall

Up and was called on by Mr. Pinckny, to whom I paid 16l for orders that he hath made for my Lord’s Cloakes and coats. Then to my Lord’s lodgings. My Lord dined at his lodgings all alone to-day. I went to Secretary Nicholas to carry him my Lord’s resolutions about his title, which he had chosen, and that is Portsmouth. I met with Mr. Throgmorton, a merchant, who went with me to the old Three Tuns, at Charing Cross, who did give me five pieces of gold for to do him a small piece of service about a convoy to Bilbo, which I did.
In the afternoon, one Mr. Watts came to me, a merchant, to offer me 500l. if I would desist from the Clerk of the Acts place. I pray God direct me in what I do herein.
Went to my house, where I found my father, and carried him and my wife to Whitefriars, and myself to Puddlewharf, to the Wardrobe, to Mr. Townsend, who went with me to Backwell, the goldsmith’s, and there we chose 100l. worth of plate for my Lord to give Secretary Nicholas. Back and staid at my father’s, and so home to bed.

An oak
all alone and old
I place myself back
at my father’s bed.

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Tuesday 26 June 1660.

Against Nature

holloway overhung with ancient trees n Cornwall

With my Lord at White Hall, all the morning. I spoke with Mr. Coventry about my business, who promised me all the assistance I could expect. Dined with young Mr. Powell, lately come from the Sound, being amused at our great changes here, and Mr. Southerne, now Clerk to Mr. Coventry, at the Leg in King-street. Thence to the Admiralty, where I met with Mr. Turner of the Navy-office, who did look after the place of Clerk of the Acts. He was very civil to me, and I to him, and shall be so.
There came a letter from my Lady Monk to my Lord about it this evening, but he refused to come to her, but meeting in White Hall, with Sir Thomas Clarges, her brother, my Lord returned answer, that he could not desist in my business; and that he believed that General Monk would take it ill if my Lord should name the officers in his army; and therefore he desired to have the naming of one officer in the fleet.
With my Lord by coach to Mr. Crew’s, and very merry by the way, discoursing of the late changes and his good fortune.
Thence home, and then with my wife to Dorset House, to deliver a list of the names of the justices of the peace for Huntingdonshire. By coach, taking Mr. Fox part of the way with me, that was with us with the King on board the Nazeby, who I found to have married Mrs. Whittle, that lived at Mr. Geer’s so long. A very civil gentleman.
At Dorset House I met with Mr. Kipps, my old friend, with whom the world is well changed, he being now sealbearer to the Lord Chancellor, at which my wife and I are well pleased, he being a very good natured man.
Home and late writing letters. Then to my Lord’s lodging, this being the first night of his coming to Whitehall to lie since his coming from sea.

All the assistance I could expect:
the sound of an evening,
a large desire for
my old friend, the world.
Nature is the first lie
since coming from sea.

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Monday 25 June 1660.


holloway overhung with ancient trees n Cornwall

Weathermen scan the skies
for signs of rain, watching
for drifts of heat and cold

that might spin wayward
into twisters, touching down
to flatten silos, trailer

homes, neat rows of brick houses
and their same-color picket fences.
What winds and currents churn

slow then fast in the ocean,
then loft their blue and green
fury above that granite-speckled

mortar? Burnt halo of scorched
hair smell in the air, creosote
spores that bilious clouds

are seeding— Doorjambs, casements
catch; joints swell and ache: we’re
always tensing for what might come.


holloway overhung with ancient trees n Cornwall

Some things destroyed and then remade me
in their wake
— Tufted, shredded,

combed through, threaded: is it any wonder
these hands do inventory in the stations

of the hours, measuring width and length,
the span of years, the tracks of silverfish

that burrowed deep in pages on the shelf?
The hassock bears the imprint of my heels.

The armchair has memorized the curvature
of my back. It’s hard to sell or give

away the emblems of accumulated life.


In response to Via Negativa: Solar Flair.

New Stockings

holloway overhung with ancient trees n Cornwall

Sunday. Drank my morning draft at Harper’s, and bought a pair of gloves there. So to Mr. G. Montagu, and told him what I had received from Dover, about his business likely to be chosen there.
So home and thence with my wife towards my father’s. She went thither, I to Mr. Crew’s, where I dined and my Lord at my Lord Montagu of Boughton in Little Queen Street.
In the afternoon to Mr. Mossum’s with Mr. Moore, and we sat in Mr. Butler’s pew. Then to Whitehall looking for my Lord but in vain, and back again to Mr. Crew’s where I found him and did give him letters. Among others some simple ones from our Lieutenant, Lieut. Lambert to him and myself, which made Mr. Crew and us all laugh. I went to my father’s to tell him that I would not come to supper, and so after my business done at Mr. Crew’s I went home and my wife within a little while after me.
My mind all this while full of thoughts for my place of Clerk of the Acts.

Love is like hose here
on Little Queen Street
to a vain and simple lieutenant
with a mind full of lace.

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Sunday 24 June 1660.

I do not like the word never:

holloway overhung with ancient trees n Cornwall

Broken, a mirror reflects
light that strikes its many
surfaces as well as the unmarred.

Women will gather up the shards,
file their edges smooth and anchor them,
embroidering along the hems of garments

these bits of sun, of tarnished sparkle.
And what of fallen flowers? They might
never be returned to the branch,

yet see how the wind,
the birds conspire to play,
make bids for immortality.


In response to Via Negativa: Leaving.

The King’s Evil

holloway overhung with ancient trees n Cornwall

By water with Mr. Hill towards my Lord’s lodging and so to my Lord. With him to Whitehall, where I left him and went to Mr. Holmes to deliver him the horse of Dixwell’s that had staid there fourteen days at the Bell.
So to my Lord’s lodgings, where Tom Guy came to me, and there staid to see the King touch people for the King’s evil. But he did not come at all, it rayned so; and the poor people were forced to stand all the morning in the rain in the garden. Afterward he touched them in the Banquetting-house.
With my Lord, to my Lord Frezendorfe’s, where he dined to-day. Where he told me that he had obtained a promise of the Clerk of the Acts place for me, at which I was glad.
Met with Mr. Chetwind, and dined with him at Hargrave’s, the Cornchandler, in St. Martin’s Lane, where a good dinner, where he showed me some good pictures, and an instrument he called an Angelique. With him to London, changing all my Dutch money at Backwell’s for English, and then to Cardinal’s Cap, where he and the City Remembrancer who paid for all.
Back to Westminster, where my Lord was, and discoursed with him awhile about his family affairs. So he went away, I home and wrote letters into the country, and to bed.

I went to the well to see
the king touch people
for the king’s evil.
The poor people stand
all morning in the rain,
the wind in the corn
changing all remembrance
into country.

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Saturday 23 June 1660.

Solar Flair

holloway overhung with ancient trees n Cornwall

To my Lord, where much business. With him to White Hall, where the Duke of York not being up, we walked a good while in the Shield Gallery. Mr. Hill (who for these two or three days hath constantly attended my Lord) told me of an offer of 500l. for a Baronet’s dignity, which I told my Lord of in the balcone in this gallery, and he said he would think of it.
I to my Lord’s and gave order for horses to be got to draw my Lord’s great coach to Mr. Crew’s.
Mr. Morrice the upholsterer came himself to-day to take notice what furniture we lack for our lodgings at Whitehall.
My dear friend Mr. Fuller of Twickenham and I dined alone at the Sun Tavern, where he told me how he had the grant of being Dean of St. Patrick’s, in Ireland; and I told him my condition, and both rejoiced one for another.
Thence to my Lord’s, and had the great coach to Brigham’s, who went with me to the Half Moon, and gave me a can of good julep, and told me how my Lady Monk deals with him and others for their places, asking him 500l., though he was formerly the King’s coach-maker, and sworn to it.
My Lord abroad, and I to my house and set things in a little order there. So with Mr. Moore to my father’s, I staying with Mrs. Turner who stood at her door as I passed. Among other things she told me for certain how my old Lady Middlesex beshit herself the other day in the presence of the King, and people took notice of it. Thence called at my father’s, and so to Mr. Crew’s, where Mr. Hetley had sent a letter for me, and two pair of silk stockings, one for W. Howe, and the other for me.
To Sir H. Wright’s to my Lord, where he, was, and took direction about business, and so by link home about 11 o’clock.
To bed, the first time since my coming from sea, in my own house, for which God be praised.

The upholsterer came
to take furniture for the sun:
a half moon, the king’s worn door
and a silk clock.

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Friday 22 June 1660.