(Office day). To it all the morning, and dined at home where my father come and dined with me, who seems to take much pleasure to have a son that is neat in his house. I being now making my new door into the entry, which he do please himself much with.
After dinner to the office again, and there till night. And that being done the Comptroller and I to the Mitre to a glass of wine, when we fell into a discourse of poetry, and he did repeat some verses of his own making which were very good.
Home, there hear that my Lady Batten had given my wife a visit (the first that ever she made her), which pleased me exceedingly. So after supper to bed.

Making my new door,
we fell into a discourse
of poetry.

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Monday 26 November 1660.

Learning from the ice

ice fangs 2

Yesterday morning’s lovely, quiet snow turned to freezing rain in the afternoon. In the evening, it really began to rain hard, and continued for hours. Around 11:00, I started to hear crashes from limbs breaking up on Sapsucker Ridge — the side of Plummer’s Hollow dominated by black cherry, red maple, and other weak, fast-growing trees. By two in the morning, when I finally went to bed, the rain had almost stopped, but there was still a constant barrage of crashes. I feared the worst. Continue reading “Learning from the ice”

Austerity measures

(Lord’s day). In the forenoon I alone to our church, and after dinner I went and ranged about to many churches, among the rest to the Temple, where I heard Dr. Wilkins a little (late Maister of Trinity in Cambridge). That being done to my father’s to see my mother who is troubled much with the stone, and that being done I went home, where I had a letter brought me from my Lord to get a ship ready to carry the Queen’s things over to France, she being to go within five or six days. So to supper and to bed.

Alone, I went
to church in a stone
and went home to a car
to go five or six days
to supper.

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Sunday 25 November 1660.

With “Trauermantel,” Swoon completes Luisa Igloria videopoem triptych

Watch on Vimeo

Just up at Swoon’s website and Moving Poems: Trauermantel, the third of three videopoems Marc Neys (Swoon) has made with texts and readings by Via Negativa’s daily poetry blogger extraordinaire, Luisa A. Igloria. He writes:

People who have been following my works a bit, know I have a thing with artworks in a triptych.
When Luisa approached me to make a video for one of the poems in her book “The Saints of Streets“, I was not thinking triptych.
Yet Luisa sent me several recordings and as it happens I liked her poems (and her readings for that matter) a lot. So in the end I made three videopoems (Mortal Ghazal and Oir) and because of her voice and her style these do belong together. To me anyway.

The trauermantel is the same species of butterfly known as mourning cloak in North American and Camberwell beauty in Britain. Luisa’s poem originally appeared here on May 28, 2011, sparked by a post at The Morning Porch:

A mourning cloak butterfly circles the porch and yard three times, going behind my chair, including me in whatever it means to outline.

Marc goes on to say:

I wanted light, colours and an abstract spirit like feel for this one.
Only at the end of the video (after the poem) I come up with a concrete image.
These images are also my first attempt to create something of an animated sequence. The image of the butterfly was made by Katrijn Clemer using the outlines of a real Trauermantel and one of the faces of the video for Oir.

You can watch all the videopoems that have been made with Luisa’s poetry so far at her page on Moving Poems.

Dear spurred and caruncled one in the grass,

This entry is part 19 of 28 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Autumn 2013


don’t stand uncertain in the cold dry field
looking up at gathering rainclouds where the wind
could untie your snood or ruffle your wattle. Don’t
open your mouth and drown in the rain. Don’t streak
the black, hairlike feathers on your breast with tears
or thickened gravy, don’t get so worked up to change
the colors on your head— Don’t worry about what
might be moving in the bushes, closing in from
a hundred yards away— You had ten million years
to get to this moment, you might as well go out
in a beaded flapper dress, doing the turkey trot.
Don’t watch anything except in high definition
color, because at night everything turns black.
And when you go to bed in the trees, don’t
startle at the first plaintive call, don’t
have a random heart attack; don’t let any
little thing keep you from clicking.


In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.


To my Lord’s, where after I had done talking with him Mr. Townsend, Rumball, Blackburn, Creed and Shepley and I to the Rhenish winehouse, and there I did give them two quarts of Wormwood wine, and so we broke up.
So we parted, and I and Mr. Creed to Westminster Hall and looked over a book or two, and so to my Lord’s, where I dined with my lady, there being Mr. Child and Mrs. Borfett, who are never absent at dinner there, under pretence of a wooing. From thence I to Mr. de Cretz and did take away my Lord’s picture, which is now finished for me, and I paid 3l. 10s. for it and the frame, and am well pleased with it and the price.
So carried it home by water, Will being with me. At home, and had a fire made in my closet, and put my papers and books and things in order, and that being done I fell to entering these two good songs of Mr. Lawes, “Helpe, helpe, O helpe,” and “O God of Heaven and Hell” in my song book, to which I have got Mr. Child to set the base to the Theorbo, and that done to bed.

Wine and wormwood,
we two who
are ever wooing—
picture and price,
water and fire,
book and song,
heaven and bed.

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Saturday 24 November 1660.


This morning standing looking upon the workmen doing of my new door to my house, there comes Captain Straughan the Scot (to whom the King has given half of the money that the two ships lately sold do bring), and he would needs take me to the Dolphin, and give me a glass of ale and a peck of oysters, he and I. He did talk much what he is able to advise the King for good husbandry in his ships, as by ballasting them with lead ore and many other tricks, but I do believe that he is a knowing man in sea-business. Home and dined, and in the afternoon to the office, where till late, and that being done Mr. Creed did come to speak with me, and I took him to the Dolphin, where there was Mr. Pierce the purser and his wife and some friends of theirs. So I did spend a crown upon them behind the bar, they being akin to the people of the house, and this being the house where Mr. Pierce was apprentice.
After they were gone Mr. Creed and I spent an hour in looking over the account which he do intend to pass in our office for his lending moneys, which I did advise about and approve or disapprove of as I saw cause.
After an hour being, serious at this we parted about 11 o’clock at night. So I home and to bed, leaving my wife and the maid at their linen to get up.

Take me to the dolphin.
A good husband is ballast, but he
is knowing in sea-business
and in the ice.
I row and look.
His is a serious art.

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Friday 23 November 1660.

Carpenter, make a door into my life:

make me a tunnel more ample than the width
of the one I’ve wormed through with nothing

more than my shoulders scraping against
sediment and shale. Make me a flying
buttress so the roof of the earth

holds up and my breaths
ricochet past their fear
of the unseen—

Make me a trowel light
enough for my hand: down here
nights are velvet or animal

fur, flecked with metal
or dormant fire. And if
I touched the flint

of its pewter
to the gallery’s edge,
I might find the chink

in stone, the spring
hidden in plain sight;
I might find the lever

and the toothed guardian
asleep on the landing, the gate
beyond open to the garden

where the moon hangs like a lost-
and-found earring, a sickle,
an ornament, a pear—


In response to Via Negativa: Commission.

Remixing Donna Vorreyer’s “Giacometti’s Pears”

Giacometti's Pears thumbnail

Watch on Vimeo.

I made a videopoem this afternoon for Moving Poems based on a text at The Poetry Storehouse, a new site offering “great contemporary poems for creative remix”: in this case, “Giacometti’s Pears” by Donna Vorreyer — one of my favorite poets. I’ve been involved with the Storehouse as an adviser, but I’m as interested as anyone in taking advantage of the remix potential of the works there.

Vorreyer’s own reading, available for download at the Storehouse, struck me as more than adequate, and I combined it with a snippet from a soundscape I found on from someone called Deneb al Giedi, who describes it as “one very long deconstructed recording of a string quartet with metallic stereo and echo effects.” For footage, I had the idea of searching the Prelinger Archives for videos of canyons in the American southwest, thinking I might find some sensuous curves to complement the imagery in the poem. Imagine my delight when I found an old home movie that combines wind-sculpted rock with hard angles: Glen Canyon Bridge, from 1958.

This is the tenth videopoem for a text at The Poetry Storehouse. You can watch them all at the group page on Vimeo.