holloway overhung with ancient trees n Cornwall
This entry is part 68 of 91 in the series Toward Noon: 3verses


A winter wren darts low
over the rushing stream
and unwinds its hurdy-gurdy song.

Not all water-lovers
are bouyant in the same way.
The waterthrush walks

on the bottom, tail bobbing
as if spring-loaded. We stand
dripping in the rain.

Sea legs

holloway overhung with ancient trees n Cornwall

Up among my workmen, then to Whitehall, and there at Privy Seal and elsewhere did business, and among other things met with Mr. Townsend, who told of his mistake the other day, to put both his legs through one of his knees of his breeches, and went so all day.
Then with Mr. Creed and Moore to the Leg in the Palace to dinner which I gave them, and after dinner I saw the girl of the house, being very pretty, go into a chamber, and I went in after her and kissed her. Then by water, Creed and I, to Salisbury Court and there saw “Love’s Quarrell” acted the first time, but I do not like the design or words.
So calling at my father’s, where they and my wife well, and so home and to bed.

At sea, I take both legs
to the leg of a ham
and we quarrel
like words in a well.

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Saturday 6 April 1661.

Poetic fallacy

holloway overhung with ancient trees n Cornwall

Up among my workmen and so to the office, and then to Sir W. Pen’s with the other Sir William and Sir John Lawson to dinner, and after that, with them to Mr. Lucy’s, a merchant, where much good company, and there drank a great deal of wine, and in discourse fell to talk of the weight of people, which did occasion some wagers, and where, among others, I won half a piece to be spent.
Then home, and at night to Sir W. Batten’s, and there very merry with a good barrell of oysters, and this is the present life I lead.
Home and to bed.

My office: wit.
I chant, I talk
of the weight of age
and where I err
is the present.

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Friday 5 April 1661.

Camberwell Beauty

holloway overhung with ancient trees n Cornwall
This entry is part 67 of 91 in the series Toward Noon: 3verses


Camera out, you stalk
a mourning cloak,
avid as a book thief

for that two-page
spread of darkness
glowing in the leafless woods,

you and the butterfly—
both quick to fly but loathe to leave.
And edged in light.


holloway overhung with ancient trees n Cornwall

To my workmen, then to my Lord’s, and there dined with Mr. Shepley. After dinner I went in to my Lord and there we had a great deal of musique, and then came my cozen Tom Pepys and there did accept of the security which we gave him for his 1000l. that we borrow of him, and so the money to be paid next week. Then to the Privy Seal, and so with Mr. Moore to my father’s, where some friends did sup there and we with them and late went home, leaving my wife still there. So to bed.

A great music
we borrow of the sea—
and so still
the bed.

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Thursday 4 April 1661.


holloway overhung with ancient trees n Cornwall

From the other side of the world, the Buddha’s mother
texts on her cellphone: How r u? I hope you pray for me
like I pray for all of u. I am an old woman now, I am taking
my supper by myself. I wish to c u all and embrace each of u.

He’s facing a particularly trying day at the office:
sales reports overdue, job interviews for a new team
of young upstarts he secretly fears are already after
his job; and his wife is on line 1, frantic about the busted
water heater, their insurance agent’s call about a premium
adjustment, plus their son’s dropping out of college.
Just a few minutes ago, all he could think of was five
o’clock and happy hour with a dish of deep-fried calamari
in the depths of a smoky bar, where he will stare
at the muted TV on the wall until his mind feels empty.
But now he pauses, pushes back his swivel chair, opens
the corner window to let in draughts of air. One hand
on his throbbing temple, he breathes first into one
nostril then exhales out the other, repeating this
for a full cycle. How has he come to live this long
with more or less all his faculties intact, with a heart
buoyed up and down by the vagaries of everyday destiny;
with the instinct to wash his face in the morning, brush
his teeth and hair, button his shirts neatly, cut the meat
on the plate with a knife and fork? How does it seem
like just yesterday that he came home plastered
from a frat party to throw up in the hallway then
collapse in his own vomit? Or the time he surreptitiously
took the family car and rammed it into the barrier wall
coming back from a midnight joy ride, nearly killing
himself and his friends but miraculously surviving?
Oh the face of his mother when she opened the door
in her bathrobe; oh the fountain of her magnificent
and sputtering anger, the scalding tears of her unmasked
frustration: May you know someday what it’s like to suffer
the pains of a parent! May you stay up late transfixed
by the unhelpful transparency of hours moving from dark
to dawn! May you know the simultaneous gnashing
of teeth in the thousand and one gears of worry, all
because you have thought of no one but yourself.



“Sancta Mater, istud agas
Crucifixi fige plagas
Cordi meo válide.” ~ Stabat Mater; Missale Romanum

[“At the cross, your sorrow sharing,
All your grief and torment bearing,
Let me stand and mourn with you.”]


In response to Via Negativa: Stabat Mater.

Proverbial (3)

holloway overhung with ancient trees n Cornwall

Up among my workmen, my head akeing all day from last night’s debauch. To the office all the morning, and at noon dined with Sir W. Batten and Pen, who would needs have me drink two drafts of sack to-day to cure me of last night’s disease, which I thought strange but I think find it true.
Then home with my workmen all the afternoon, at night into the garden to play on my flageolette, it being moonshine, where I staid a good while, and so home and to bed.
This day I hear that the Dutch have sent the King a great present of money, which we think will stop the match with Portugal; and judge this to be the reason that our so great haste in sending the two ships to the East Indys is also stayed.

I debauch the morning with a pen.

Who needs to think, find a garden.

On my flag: moon and money, our two hips.

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Wednesday 3 April 1661.

Stabat mater

holloway overhung with ancient trees n Cornwall

Among my workmen early and then along with my wife and Pall to my Father’s by coach there to have them lie a while till my house be done. I found my mother alone weeping upon my last night’s quarrel and so left her, and took my wife to Charing Cross and there left her to see her mother who is not well. So I into St. James’s Park, where I saw the Duke of York playing at Pelemele, the first time that ever I saw the sport.
Then to my Lord’s, where I dined with my Lady, and after we had dined in comes my Lord and Ned Pickering hungry, and there was not a bit of meat left in the house, the servants having eat up all, at which my Lord was very angry, and at last got something dressed. Then to the Privy Seal, and signed some things, and so to White-fryars and saw “The Little Thiefe,” which is a very merry and pretty play, and the little boy do very well.
Then to my Father’s, where I found my mother and my wife in a very good mood, and so left them and went home.
Then to the Dolphin to Sir W. Batten, and Pen, and other company; among others Mr. Delabar; where strange how these men, who at other times are all wise men, do now, in their drink, betwitt and reproach one another with their former conditions, and their actions as in public concernments, till I was ashamed to see it.
But parted all friends at 12 at night after drinking a great deal of wine. So home and alone to bed.

The mother weeping
on her cross,
the mother who is hungry,
not a bit of meat left
in the house, having
signed things to a thief—
the little mother
is not ashamed
to drink alone.

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Tuesday 2 April 1661.