Up early, and though I found myself out of order and cold, and the weather cold and likely to rain, yet upon my promise and desire to do what I intended, I did take boat and down to Greenwich, to Captain Cocke’s, who hath a most pleasant seat, and neat. Here I drank wine, and eat some fruit off the trees; and he showed a great rarity, which was two or three of a great number of silver dishes and plates, which he bought of an embassador that did lack money, in the edge or rim of which was placed silver and gold medalls, very ancient, and I believe wrought, by which, if they be, they are the greatest rarity that ever I saw in my life, and I will show Mr. Crumlum them.
Thence to Woolwich to the Rope-yard; and there looked over several sorts of hemp, and did fall upon my great survey of seeing the working and experiments of the strength and the charge in the dressing of every sort; and I do think have brought it to so great a certainty, as I have done the King great service in it: and do purpose to get it ready against the Duke’s coming to town to present to him.
I breakfasted at Mr. Falconer’s well, and much pleased with my inquiries.
Thence to the dock, where we walked in Mr. Shelden’s garden, eating more fruit, and drinking, and eating figs, which were very good, and talking while the Royal James was bringing towards the dock, and then we went out and saw the manner and trouble of docking such a ship, which yet they could not do, but only brought her head into the Dock, and so shored her up till next tide. But, good God! what a deal of company was there from both yards to help to do it, when half the company would have done it as well. But I see it is impossible for the King to have things done as cheap as other men.
Thence by water, and by and by landing at the riverside somewhere among the reeds, we walked to Greenwich, where to Cocke’s house again and walked in the garden, and then in to his lady, who I find is still pretty, but was now vexed and did speak very discontented and angry to the Captain for disappointing a gentleman that he had invited to dinner, which he took like a wise man and said little, but she was very angry, which put me clear out of countenance that I was sorry I went in. So after I had eat still some more fruit I took leave of her in the garden plucking apricots for preserving, and went away and so by water home, and there Mr. Moore coming and telling me that my Lady goes into the country to-morrow, I carried my wife by coach to take her leave of her father, I staying in Westminster Hall, she going away also this week, and thence to my Lady’s, where we staid and supped with her, but found that my Lady was truly angry and discontented with us for our neglecting to see her as we used to do, but after a little she was pleased as she was used to be, at which we were glad. So after supper home to bed.

I found myself out
of order and cold
like a boat in the trees,
silver and ancient.
I ought to fall
towards the shore, landing
somewhere among the reeds
like a clear fruit of water.

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Monday 21 July 1662.

2 Replies to “Diagnosis”

  1. I love this poem! It reminds me of Corot’s The Ferryman which continues to slip into my dreams.

    I’ve been thinking about erasure poems for some time, though I haven’t tried one yet. I like the idea of pulling a thread out of the past and also of connecting with another writer’s work. Yet the erasing conjures an ancient terror in me. Too many writers have been silenced. I like the way you’ve shown it above, with the original still visible. That gesture of respect to the orginal author eases my concern.

    1. I do see it as a gesture of respect and acknowledgement—a process that begins with reading the day’s diary entry out loud, along with the online commentary. I’m glad I found this way of doing it in HTML, which was something I imitated from a print publication, actually: Jan Bervin’s Nets, which uses Shakespeare’s sonnets for a source text. In any case, it’s not the process of erasure that’s important, it’s the process of discovery. So-called erasure poetry or blackout poetry is really just an extreme form of found poetry. Then again, all poetry is found poetry. Anyway, I’m glad you liked. Thanks for stopping by.

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