Artisanal death

Up and all the morning at the office, busy, and at noon to the King’s Head taverne, where all the Trinity House dined to-day, to choose a new Master in the room of Hurlestone, that is dead, and Captain Crispe is chosen. But, Lord! to see how Sir W. Batten governs all and tramples upon Hurlestone, but I am confident the Company will grow the worse for that man’s death, for now Batten, and in him a lazy, corrupt, doating rogue, will have all the sway there.
After dinner who comes in but my Lady Batten, and a troop of a dozen women almost, and expected, as I found afterward, to be made mighty much of, but nobody minded them; but the best jest was, that when they saw themselves not regarded, they would go away, and it was horrible foule weather; and my Lady Batten walking through the dirty lane with new spicke and span white shoes, she dropped one of her galoshes in the dirt, where it stuck, and she forced to go home without one, at which she was horribly vexed, and I led her; and after vexing her a little more in mirth, I parted, and to Glanville’s, where I knew Sir John Robinson, Sir G. Smith, and Captain Cocke were gone, and there, with the company of Mrs. Penington, whose father, I hear, was one of the Court of justice, and died prisoner, of the stone, in the Tower, I made them, against their resolutions, to stay from houre to houre till it was almost midnight, and a furious, darke and rainy, and windy, stormy night, and, which was best, I, with drinking small beer, made them all drunk drinking wine, at which Sir John Robinson made great sport. But, they being gone, the lady and I very civilly sat an houre by the fireside observing the folly of this Robinson, that makes it his worke to praise himself, and all he say and do, like a heavy-headed coxcombe.
The plague, blessed be God! is decreased 400; making the whole this week but 1300 and odd; for which the Lord be praised!

a death made
of dirt and prison stone

made from hour to hour
till it was midnight

made drunk
made of work

like a heavy-headed ox
whole but odd


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Wednesday 15 November 1665.

Dave Bonta (bio) crowd-sources his problems by following his gut, which he shares with 100 trillion of his closest microbial friends — a close-knit, symbiotic community comprising several thousand species of bacteria, fungi, and protozoa. In a similarly collaborative fashion, all of Dave’s writing is available for reuse and creative remix under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License. For attribution in printed material, his name (Dave Bonta) will suffice, but for web use, please link back to the original. Contact him for permission to waive the “share alike” provision (e.g. for use in a conventionally copyrighted work).

2 Replies to “Artisanal death”

    1. Glad it resonated with you! When I noticed the word “made” being repeated, the poem pretty much wrote itself. “Whole but odd” sounds like an apt way to characterize the most successful outcomes of this erasure exercise.

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