Rose very well, and my hearing pretty well again, and so to my office, by and by Mr. Holliard come, and at my house he searched my ear, and I hope all will be well, though I do not yet hear so well as I used to do with my right ear.
So to my office till noon, and then home to dinner, and in the afternoon by water to White Hall, to the Tangier Committee; where my Lord Tiviott about his accounts; which grieves me to see that his accounts being to be examined by us, there are none of the great men at the Board that in compliment will except against any thing in his accounts, and so none of the little persons dare do it: so the King is abused.
Thence home again by water with Sir W. Rider, and so to my office, and there I sat late making up my month’s accounts, and, blessed be God, do find myself 760l. creditor, notwithstanding that for clothes for myself and wife, and layings out on her closett, I have spent this month 47l.. So home, where I found our new cooke-mayde Elizabeth, whom my wife never saw at all, nor I but once at a distance before, but recommended well by Mr. Creed, and I hope will prove well. So to supper, prayers, and bed.
This evening Mr. Coventry is come to St. James’s, but I did not go see him, and tomorrow the King, Queen, Duke and his Lady, and the whole Court comes to towne from their progresse. Myself and family well, only my father sicke in the country.
All the common talke for newes is the Turke’s advance in Hungary, &c.

rose I do not hear with
ear of no afternoon committee

where is that mine none of the great men
at the board will dare to bless

God my creditor
whom I never saw

at a distance prayers become all
the common news

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Wednesday 30 September 1663, prompted by news of the proposed Rosemont copper mine.

Aerial view

You come from a place of pain
You come from a place of darkness
~ Azar Nafisi

This is our world made
and remade and unmade,
isn’t it? It’s like someone
peers through

the glass dome
and lightly taps
a finger, releasing
a flurry of barely

anchored sand, a hail
of meteorites, a sandstorm.
But never a snowstorm: ours
is a tropical country, where

the only weather is made
from rain and heat, rain
and prefabricated promises
from politicians. Mostly

there is an eye, large as land
mass, whirling over the Pacific,
its white hems ominous,
gathering darkness.

Open Day

photo of a cemetery

The old Dulwich burial ground

photo of a cemetery

This ground heaves, lurchingly
    uneven through its mulch of leaves,

tips us towards the tilting graves,
    the shade of tall, stooped trees.

The stone sarcophagi are empty – burial
    was below, in now unfathomable depths.

Toppled headstones sink slowly
    in a green lawn where the nameless

are marked by darker green hollows
    that tempt today’s visitors to lie down,

and a girl in a vintage print frock
    carries a golden bowl — her cycle helmet,

its glinting curves reflecting miniature
    monuments, tiny people, old light.


Took two pills more in the morning and they worked all day, and I kept the house. About noon dined, and then to carry several heavy things with my wife up and down stairs, in order to our going to lie above, and Will to come down to the Wardrobe, and that put me into a violent sweat, so I had a fire made, and then, being dry again, she and I to put up some paper pictures in the red chamber, where we go to lie very pretty, and the map of Paris. Then in the evening, towards night, it fell to thunder, lighten, and rain so violently that my house was all afloat, and I in all the rain up to the gutters, and there dabbled in the rain and wet half an hour, enough to have killed a man. That done downstairs to dry myself again, and by and by come Mr. Sympson to set up my wife’s chimney-piece in her closett, which pleases me, and so that being done, I to supper and to bed, shifting myself from top to toe, and doubtful of my doing myself hurt.

I work to carry several heavy things
a lie the war

that violent red map in my gut
enough to have killed me

my wife in bed shifting
doubtful of my hurt

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Tuesday 29 September 1663.


I am new. A brown dog
waits for me in the middle
of a field and we begin
to waltz. I know this
is a dream, and because I
am an immigrant the field
feels portentous, strewn
with wildness and flowers.
Pearls shine in the dog’s mouth
and I can feel them close
to my neck, a row of cracked
pearls making up a choker.
I never wanted to leave
anyone behind. My life
changed, and it didn’t
change. At the end
of the dance we bow
to each other. I make
a fire now, make a hollow
where I’ll lay my bones
and they’ll feel
familiar, like bedding.


Up, though with pain in my head, stomach, and ear, and that deaf so as in my way by coach to White Hall with Sir J. Minnes I called at Mr. Holliard’s, who did give me some pills, and tells me I shall have my hearing again and be well. So to White Hall, where Sir J. Minnes and I did spend an hour in the Gallery, looking upon the pictures, in which he hath some judgment. And by and by the Commissioners for Tangier met: and there my Lord Teviott, together with Captain Cuttance, Captain Evans, and Jonas Moore, sent to that purpose, did bring us a brave draught of the Mole to be built there; and report that it is likely to be the most considerable place the King of England hath in the world; and so I am apt to think it will. After discourse of this, and of supplying the garrison with some more horse, we rose; and Sir J. Minnes and I home again, finding the street about our house full, Sir R. Ford beginning his shrievalty to-day and, what with his and our houses being new painted, the street begins to look a great deal better than it did, and more gracefull.
Home and eat one bit of meat, and then by water with him and Sir W. Batten to a sale of old provisions at Deptford, which we did at Captain Boddily’s house, to the value of 600l. or 700l., but I am not satisfied with the method used in this thing.
Then home again by water, and after a little at my office, and visit Sir W. Pen, who is not very well again, with his late pain, home to supper, being hungry, and my ear and cold not so bad I think as it was. So to bed, taking one of my pills. Newes that the King comes to town for certain on Thursday next from his progresse.

with my stomach I have met
mole-like most of the world

and I am full better than full
of meat and visions

but I am not satisfied with
the method used

this again and again being hungry
taking pills

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Monday 28 September 1663.


The mammogram technician looked
at your chart when you flinched;

and she said That hurt, huh? And yet
you went and had four kids?

You did not know exactly how
to answer— How do you say What

is such pain compared to the one
that begins as a syllable in the gut

and stretches into the one breath you know
will burn you and carry you to the last.

Broken windows

(Lord’s day). Lay chatting with my wife a good while, then up and got me ready and to church, without my man William, whom I have not seen to-day, nor care, but would be glad to have him put himself far enough out of my favour that he may not wonder to have me put him away. So home to dinner, being a little troubled to see Pembleton out again, but I do not discern in my wife the least memory of him.
Dined, and so to my office a little, and then to church again, where a drowsy sermon, and so home to spend the evening with my poor wife, consulting about her closett, clothes, and other things. At night to supper, though with little comfort, I finding myself both head and breast in great pain, and what troubles me most my right ear is almost deaf. It is a cold, which God Almighty in justice did give me while I sat lewdly sporting with Mrs. Lane the other day with the broken window in my neck. I went to bed with a posset, being very melancholy in consideration of the loss of my hearing.

I would be glad to not wonder
to see but not discern the poor

or in my breast cold justice
in a broken window

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Sunday 27 September 1663.

The way home

Up and to my office, and there we sat till noon, and then I to the Exchange, but did little there, but meeting Mr. Rawlinson he would needs have me home to dinner, and Mr. Deane of Woolwich being with me I took him with me, and there we dined very well at his own dinner, only no invitation, but here I sat with little pleasure, considering my wife at home alone, and so I made what haste home I could, and was forced to sit down again at dinner with her, being unwilling to neglect her by being known to dine abroad. My doing so being only to keep Deane from dining at home with me, being doubtful what I have to eat. So to the office, and there till late at night, and so home to supper and bed, being mightily pleased to find my wife so mindful of her house.

I change onto a little side road
only to keep being doubtful

what I have of night
might ease my mind

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Saturday 26 September 1663.