Up, and sent for Thomas Willson, and broke the victualling business to him and he is mightily contented, and so am I that I have bestowed it on him, and so I to Mr. Boreman’s, where Sir W. Batten is, to tell him what I had proposed to Thomas Willson, and the newes also I have this morning from Sir W. Clerke, which is, that notwithstanding all the care the Duke of Albemarle hath taken about the putting the East India prize goods into the East India Company’s hands, and my Lord Bruncker and Sir J. Minnes having laden out a great part of the goods, an order is come from Court to stop all, and to have the goods delivered to the Sub-Commissioners of Prizes. At which I am glad, because it do vex this simple weake man, and we shall have a little reparation for the disgrace my Lord Sandwich has had in it. He tells me also that the Parliament hath given the Duke of Yorke 120,000l., to be paid him after the 1,250,000l. is gathered upon the tax which they have now given the King. He tells me that the Dutch have lately launched sixteen new ships; all which is great news.
Thence by horsebacke with Mr. Deane to Erith, and so aboard my Lord Bruncker and dined, and very merry with him and good discourse between them about ship building, and, after dinner and a little pleasant discourse, we away and by horse back again to Greenwich, and there I to the office very late, offering my persons for all the victualling posts much to my satisfaction. Also much other business I did to my mind, and so weary home to my lodging, and there after eating and drinking a little I to bed. The King and Court, they say, have now finally resolved to spend nothing upon clothes, but what is of the growth of England; which, if observed, will be very pleasing to the people, and very good for them.

I am to pose with the commissioner of prizes
a simple weak man

a little grace gathered
at the launch

my good ship is finally
nothing but what I sing

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Saturday 28 October 1665.

Letter to us, at the threshold of oblivion

“If we can’t have everything what is the closest amount to everything we can have?”
~ Emily Berry, “The End”

We can have salt, perhaps. Trace
of linden flower in coil of slow
wind. Or is that the scent of some
new petroleum byproduct? We can have
torched cowhide. We can have dissolution
of karst, lime-colored scales, chalk
marks left by the last surge of tides.
As for lovers— we can say their names,
one for every bit of glass found, discarded,
underfoot: the amber-colored ones, so
difficult to forget. The end of a trail,
gloss of a milky sky divided by power
lines. Which tower can we climb tonight?
Don’t say anything that will give it
away. As for grief and death— we
can scratch the sign for door on sheets
of gypsum. We can trail our hands along
the ghost of a shore where whole
countries of whales once sang before
arriving on the beach then expiring.

The Hollow (36)

This entry is part 36 of 48 in the series The Hollow


sandstone shelf

all the volumes I ever
wanted to read


road-bank hemlock

the orifice at its base
stuffed with stone



the separate neighborhoods
of moss and lichen


crumbling bedrock

since it was last sand
the sea too has moved

Ode to light

Say spill: and think
of what you can offer
with both hands, pour
into dry well, wind
warm around throat
and shoulders
as you lean against
an open doorway. Say
circlet and bar;
edge of small halo
night won’t leave
alone, wants
to take every small
particle in its
mouth; smoke from
a row of citronella
candles. Say hand-
clap and key, say
borrowed flare
swinging its arc
over the gate and back
alley. Say welcome. Say
nothing of ordinance
or contain, diminish.
What is so bitter
that it can’t abide
your visible water-
fall, your simplest
device? So generous:
abundance that fills
every shape and strikes
the oldest bells into
a chorus. Pity the one
that struggles inside
the cloth-draped cage,
the stairwell in which
specks of dust float,
robbed of any chance
to stipple with gold.


Up, and after some pleasant discourse with my wife, I out, leaving her and Mrs. Ferrers there, and I to Captain Cocke’s, there to do some business, and then away with Cocke in his coach through Kent Streete, a miserable, wretched, poor place, people sitting sicke and muffled up with plasters at every 4 or 5 doors. So to the ‘Change, and thence I by water to the Duke of Albemarle’s, and there much company, but I staid and dined, and he makes mighty much of me; and here he tells us the Dutch are gone, and have lost above 160 cables and anchors, through the last foule weather. Here he proposed to me from Mr. Coventry, as I had desired of Mr. Coventry, that I should be Surveyor-Generall of the Victualling business, which I accepted. But, indeed, the terms in which Mr. Coventry proposes it for me are the most obliging that ever I could expect from any man, and more; it saying me to be the fittest man in England, and that he is sure, if I will undertake, I will perform it; and that it will be also a very desirable thing that I might have this encouragement, my encouragement in the Navy alone being in no wise proportionable to my pains or deserts. This, added to the letter I had three days since from Mr. Southerne, signifying that the Duke of Yorke had in his master’s absence opened my letter, and commanded him to tell me that he did approve of my being the Surveyor-General, do make me joyful beyond myself that I cannot express it, to see that as I do take pains, so God blesses me, and hath sent me masters that do observe that I take pains.
After having done here, I back by water and to London, and there met with Captain Cocke’s coach again, and I went in it to Greenwich and thence sent my wife in it to Woolwich, and I to the office, and thence home late with Captain Taylor, and he and I settled all accounts between us, and I do find that I do get above 129l. of him for my services for him within these six months. At it till almost one in the morning, and after supper he away and I to bed, mightily satisfied in all this, and in a resolution I have taken to-night with Mr. Hater to propose the port of London for the victualling business for Thomas Willson, by which it will be better done and I at more ease, in case he should grumble. So to bed.

sitting makes me an anchor
alone in a desert

open to a joy beyond myself
that I see as water

and me with my captain
settled in port

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Friday 27 October 1665.

The Hollow (35)

This entry is part 35 of 48 in the series The Hollow


after failing
this year to blossom

Clintonia leaves



the two sterile florets’
showy bracts


the mountain road’s
one straight stretch

turning to look back


headwater stream
a dark and slender
mink’s road


Up, and, leaving my guests to make themselves ready, I to the office, and thither comes Sir Jer. Smith and Sir Christopher Mings to see me, being just come from Portsmouth and going down to the Fleete. Here I sat and talked with them a good while and then parted, only Sir Christopher Mings and I together by water to the Tower; and I find him a very witty well-spoken fellow, and mighty free to tell his parentage, being a shoemaker’s son, to whom he is now going, and I to the ‘Change, where I hear how the French have taken two and sunk one of our merchant-men in the Streights, and carried the ships to Toulon; so that there is no expectation but we must fall out with them. The ‘Change pretty full, and the town begins to be lively again, though the streets very empty, and most shops shut. So back again I and took boat and called for Sir Christopher Mings at St. Katharine’s, who was followed with some ordinary friends, of which, he says, he is proud, and so down to Greenwich, the wind furious high, and we with our sail up till I made it be taken down. I took him, it being 3 o’clock, to my lodgings and did give him a good dinner and so parted, he being pretty close to me as to any business of the fleete, knowing me to be a servant of my Lord Sandwich’s. He gone I to the office till night, and then they come and tell me my wife is come to towne, so I to her vexed at her coming, but it was upon innocent business, so I was pleased and made her stay, Captain Ferrers and his lady being yet there, and so I left them to dance, and I to the office till past nine at night, and so to them and there saw them dance very prettily, the Captain and his wife, my wife and Mrs. Barbary, and Mercer and my landlady’s daughter, and then little Mistress Frances Tooker and her mother, a pretty woman come to see my wife. Anon to supper, and then to dance again (Golding being our fiddler, who plays very well and all tunes) till past twelve at night, and then we broke up and every one to bed, we make shift for all our company, Mrs. Tooker being gone.

Christ or a shoe
who to take two of

full though very empty
Christ or the wind

high as any servant
at the dance

and the old fiddler
who plays for anyone

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Thursday 26 October 1665.

The Hollow (34)

This entry is part 34 of 48 in the series The Hollow


25 years
since the snow that brought it down
measured in moss


after the chainsaw
the silence
big as ever


ice storm

where are the canopy gaps of yesteryear


one small bird
to salvage all those logs

winter wren song