This entry is part 66 of 91 in the series Toward Noon: 3verses


The field sparrow is back—
that rising trill spilling
from a small, pink beak.

A yellow-bellied sapsucker
taps a ring of wells all around
the bole of a hickory.

You nap on the porch,
ears open to the creek and other
migrant tongues.


Full-blown, blowsy: blooms that used to be
mere hints on the tips of trees—
Overnight it has become spring, season of
wild and ruddy burgeoning. They move too rapidly
into their prime, trying on dress after dress,
discarding cardigans, pinning on costume jewelry.
Perfume on wrists, blushed cheeks. Dark
consigned to evenings. Make pretty; kiss kiss!
Perfume on wrists, blushed cheeks. Dark
discarding cardigans. Pinning on costume jewelry
into their prime, trying on dress after dress.
Wild and ruddy burgeoning. They move too rapidly
overnight— it has become spring, season of
mere hints on the tips of trees;
full-blown, blowsy, blooms that used to be.


In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.


This entry is part 65 of 91 in the series Toward Noon: 3verses


Fresh from their hibernaculum
under the lawn beside
the stone well,

the male garter snakes
thread themselves into a throbbing knot
and pull apart, thwarted.

Where is she? They circle
like eddies of wind, old skins
whispering through the grass.


This day my waiting at the Privy Seal comes in again.
Up early among my workmen. So to the office, and went home to dinner with Sir W. Batten, and after that to the Goat tavern by Charing Cross to meet Dr. Castle, where he and I drank a pint of wine and talked about Privy Seal business. Then to the Privy Seal Office and there found Mr. Moore, but no business yet. Then to Whitefryars, and there saw part of “Rule a wife and have a wife,” which I never saw before, but do not like it.
So to my father, and there finding a discontent between my father and mother about the maid (which my father likes and my mother dislikes), I staid till 10 at night, persuading my mother to understand herself, and that in some high words, which I was sorry for, but she is grown, poor woman, very froward. So leaving them in the same discontent I went away home, it being a brave moonshine, and to bed.

A pint of wine
but no wife—

like a moth under
some high moon.

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Monday 1 April 1661.

On the first day of National Poetry Month,

the Buddha is a little confused by the utter
lack of change in the landscape. Where
are the giant poetry billboards and colorful
poetry flags that should have erupted all over
the city overnight? Where are the planes criss-
crossing the sky, dropping poetry bombs
over the green countryside so that anyone
looking up into the swirling mass might simply
reach out to pluck handfuls of sonnets, lucky
couplets, wistful aubades? Why are the tongues
of leaves not inscribed with dancing ideographs
that might be translated for literal as well as
metaphoric meanings? When he boards the morning
train, as usual his fellow commuters are preoccupied
with texting or surfing the web on their smartphones.
Why are they not instead buried in pages of Tagore
or Whitman; or Palgrave’s Golden Treasury, which he
coveted for months in his youth and for which
he saved every bit of allowance until he could walk
into the only bookstore in town to purchase it?
From the platform, he squints toward the street
entrance as he ascends on the escalator;
he reaches into his pocket for some change
to put in the guitar case of the girl
who’s always on the corner, singing
her heart out, strumming the blues.


In response to Via Negativa: Weltanschauung.

Bad religion

(Sunday). At church, where a stranger preached like a fool.
From thence home and dined with my wife, she staying at home, being unwilling to dress herself, the house being all dirty.
To church again, and after sermon I walked to my father’s, and to Mrs. Turner’s, where I could not woo The. to give me a lesson upon the harpsicon and was angry at it.
So home and finding Will abroad at Sir W. Batten’s talking with the people there (Sir W. and my Lady being in the country), I took occasion to be angry with him, and so to prayers and to bed.

A church like a fool unwilling
to dress to woo—
angry with the people,
angry with prayers.

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Sunday 31 March 1661.

Rite of spring

This entry is part 64 of 91 in the series Toward Noon: 3verses


In small, murky ponds
that appear each spring
along the ridge crest,

dozens of wood frogs
float through the reflected treetops,
lust blatting from each fat throat.

Get too close and the show stops.
Another step and they vanish
into strings of bubbles.

See Rachel’s blog post (which includes a video of the wood frogs in one of the vernal ponds): “Monday is herp day.”


At the office we and Sir W. Rider to advise what sort of provisions to get ready for these ships going to the Indies. Then the Comptroller and I by water to Mr. Coventry, and there discoursed upon the same thing.
So to my coz. Tho. Pepys, and got him to promise me 1,000l. to lend my Lord upon his and my uncle Robert’s and my security. So to my Lord’s, and there got him to sign a bond to him, which I also signed too, and he did sign counter security to us both.
Then into London up and down and drank a pint of wine with Mr. Creed, and so home and sent a letter and the bonds to my uncle to sign for my Lord.
This day I spoke with Dr. Castle about making up the dividend for the last quarter, and agreed to meet about it on Monday.

What sort of vision is ours?
The same thing: my security
and a pint of wine.
This castle for greed.

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Saturday 30 March 1661.