Plus ça change

Up betimes and walked to Sir Ph. Warwicke’s, where a long time with him in his chamber alone talking of Sir G. Carteret’s business, and the abuses he puts on the nation by his bad payments to both our vexations, but no hope of remedy for ought I see. Thence to my Lord Ashly to a Committee of Tangier for my Lord Rutherford’s accounts, and that done we to my Lord Treasurer’s, where I did receive my Lord’s warrant to Sir R. Long for drawing a warrant for my striking of tallys. So to the Inne again by Cripplegate, expecting my mother’s coming to towne, but she is not come this weeke neither, the coach being too full. So to the ‘Change and thence home to dinner, and so out to Gresham College, and saw a cat killed with the Duke of Florence’s poyson, and saw it proved that the oyle of tobacco drawn by one of the Society do the same effect, and is judged to be the same thing with the poyson both in colour and smell, and effect. I saw also an abortive child preserved fresh in spirits of salt. Thence parted, and to White Hall to the Councilchamber about an order touching the Navy (our being empowered to commit seamen or Masters that do not, being hired or pressed, follow their worke), but they could give us none. So a little vexed at that, because I put in the memorial to the Duke of Albemarle alone under my own hand, home, and after some time at the office home to bed.
My Lord Chief Justice Hide did die suddenly this week, a day or two ago, of an apoplexy.

our vexation at expecting change in society
an abortive child preserved
fresh in salt

we press the little ex-hand
and after some time at the office
die of apoplexy

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Wednesday 3 May 1665.


[The] Japanese kanji “Chinese character” 間 graphically combines 門 “door” and 日 “sun.” The earlier variant character 閒 was written with 月 “moon” rather than “sun”, depicting “A 門 door through the crevice of which the 月 moonshine peeps in.” ~ Wikipedia quote of Bernhard Karlgren, Analytic Dictionary of Chinese and Sino-Japanese, Paul Geunthner, 1923

What am I heartsick for
that every shape
forms into a well?


The healer sealed my hand
in a fiber of warmth and all
I could think of was roots.


Everything I eke out
seems always like


Every walk traces
a first running away,
bridges of salt burning.


Mother, do you remember
threatening to return me
to the womb?


At night I drink chamomile tea
and build houses on the table
with sugar cubes.


I have turned into
a Listening post: my ear,
filled with a residue of moths.


My pillow at night
records the sounds I don’t
hear my breathing make.

Where all the flowers have gone

Up and to the office all day, where sat late, and then to the office again, and by and by Sir W. Batten and my Lady and my wife and I by appointment yesterday (my Lady Pen failed us, who ought to have been with us) to the Rhenish winehouse at the Steelyard, and there eat a couple of lobsters and some prawns, and pretty merry, especially to see us four together, while my wife and my Lady did never intend ever to be together again after a year’s distance between one another. Hither by and by come Sir Richard Ford and also Mrs. Esther, that lived formerly with my Lady Batten, now well married to a priest, come to see my Lady.
Thence toward evening home, and to my office, where late, and then home to supper and to bed.

the ought-to-have-been couple
raw and pretty to see together
gain a year’s distance

he hit her
that former wit
now well married to a war

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Tuesday 2 May 1665.


Faint scent like jasmine
coming over the walk.
But I haven’t heard
the sound of church bells,
the din of trains.


By the steps at the entrance
to every building: boot
scrapers in the shape
of scrolls. In the hallway,
portraits of men in waistcoats.


The woman in the art
gallery pointed to a row
of landscapes on the wall.
I like to flatten them, she said;
to make the old look new.


The press of lines
on brick after brick.
Red clay from another town.
Imagine them first as loose
wet clumps between hands.


In the mirrored surface
of storefront windows,
my doubled image: almost
another face the same
shade as my brown.


A woman tells me
of a temple fifteen
minutes away. It’s as if
she’d said forest or cave,
oasis, watering hole

The coming of spring

Up and to Mr. Povy’s, and by his bedside talked a good while. Among other things he do much insist I perceive upon the difficulty of getting of money, and would fain have me to concur in the thinking of some other way of disposing of the place of Treasurer to one Mr. Bell, but I did seem slight of it, and resolved to try to do the best or to give it up. Thence to the Duke of Albemarle, where I was sorry to find myself to come a little late, and so home, and at noon going to the ‘Change I met my Lord Brunkard, Sir Robert Murry, Deane Wilkins, and Mr. Hooke, going by coach to Colonell Blunts to dinner. So they stopped and took me with them. Landed at the Tower-wharf, and thence by water to Greenwich; and there coaches met us; and to his house, a very stately sight for situation and brave plantations; and among others, a vineyard, the first that ever I did see. No extraordinary dinner, nor any other entertainment good; but only after dinner to the tryall of some experiments about making of coaches easy. And several we tried; but one did prove mighty easy (not here for me to describe, but the whole body of the coach lies upon one long spring), and we all, one after another, rid in it; and it is very fine and likely to take. These experiments were the intent of their coming, and pretty they are. Thence back by coach to Greenwich, and in his pleasure boat to Deptford, and there stopped and in to Mr. Evelyn’s, which is a most beautiful place; but it being dark and late, I staid not; but Deane Wilkins and Mr. Hooke and I walked to Redriffe; and noble discourse all day long did please me, and it being late did take them to my house to drink, and did give them some sweetmeats, and thence sent them with a lanthorn home, two worthy persons as are in England, I think, or the world. So to my Lady Batten, where my wife is tonight, and so after some merry talk home and to bed.

the cult of money would have
some other light at noon

stop the green
experiments of spring

and to take their place
a red meat world

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Monday 1 May 1665. Inspired by George Orwell’s essay “Some Thoughts on the Common Toad.”