News junkie

holloway overhung with ancient trees n Cornwall

At the office all the morning, and there come news from Hogg that our shipp hath brought in a Lubecker to Portsmouth, likely to prove prize, of deals, which joys us. At noon home to dinner, and then Sir W. Pen, Sir R. Ford, and I met at Sir W. Batten’s to examine our papers, and have great hopes to prove her prize, and Sir R. Ford I find a mighty yare man in this business, making exceeding good observations from the papers on our behalf. Hereupon concluded what to write to Hogg and Middleton, which I did, and also with Mr. Oviatt (Sir R. Ford’s son, who is to be our solicitor), to fee some counsel in the Admiralty, but none in town. So home again, and after writing letters by the post, I with all my clerks and Carcasse and Whitfield to the ticket-office, there to be informed in the method and disorder of the office, which I find infinite great, of infinite concernment to be mended, and did spend till 12 at night to my great satisfaction, it being a point of our office I was wholly unacquainted in. So with great content home and to bed.

news like a prize hog
or someone with my carcass

inform me
disorder me

and at night
point me to bed


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Saturday 22 December 1666.

From the Book of Outlines

holloway overhung with ancient trees n Cornwall
The sky asks what sort of animal you are
before you cross the bridge into
the new year. You are made to pick out
runes from a jar, drop smooth
stones on an altar where joss sticks
burn sweet smoke. In other words,
your fortune will be told according to
the color of the halo that governs
love and luck, health and money and work.
A star flies into each corner
of your abode and into the very center.
To keep them there, you must clean
your house with salt crystals and water;
at midnight you must open
the drawers and windows and let
cool air bear cobwebs away.

Cold hearted

holloway overhung with ancient trees n Cornwall

Lay long, and when up find Mrs. Clerk of Greenwich and her daughter Daniel, their business among other things was a request her daughter was to make, so I took her into my chamber, and there it was to help her husband to the command of a little new pleasure boat building, which I promised to assist in. And here I had opportunity para besar elle, and tocar sus mamelles, so as to make mi mismo espender with great pleasure. Then to the office, and there did a little business, and then to the ‘Change and did the like. So home to dinner, and spent all the afternoon in putting some things, pictures especially, in order, and pasting my Lady Castlemayne’s print on a frame, which I have made handsome, and is a fine piece. So to the office in the evening to marshall my papers of accounts presented to the Parliament, against any future occasion to recur to them, which I did do to my great content. So home and did some Tangier work, and so to bed.

I am husband to a boat
and I am the ice
I change like the afternoon
putting things in order
in my castle on Mars


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Friday 21 December 1666.

From the Book of Outlines

holloway overhung with ancient trees n Cornwall
When you speak of your life, remember 
to use examples universally, colloquially,
familiar to your audience.

You may not have grown up in this country,
but now you have collected your own share
of anecdotes about Elvis or Muhammad Ali

or the Beatles. If you use those first,
you might then be better able to move
into those other narratives

you love for their intricate
complexity, for the way they mix
without fear all registers of feeling.

Cold Moon

holloway overhung with ancient trees n Cornwall

Up, and to the office, where we sat all the morning, and here among other things come Captain Cocke, and I did get him to sign me a note for the 100l. to pay for the plate he do present me with, which I am very glad of. At noon home to dinner, where was Balty come, who is well again, and the most recovered in his countenance that ever I did see. Here dined with me also Mrs. Batters, poor woman! now left a sad widow by the drowning of her husband the other day. I pity her, and will do her what kindness I can; yet I observe something of ill-nature in myself more than should be, that I am colder towards her in my charity than I should be to one so painful as he and she have been and full of kindness to their power to my wife and I. After dinner out with Balty, setting him down at the Maypole in the Strand, and then I to my Lord Bellasses, and there spoke with Mr. Moone about some business, and so away home to my business at the office, and then home to supper and to bed, after having finished the putting of little papers upon my books to be numbered hereafter.

Cold Moon
I finish putting paper
on my books


Erasure haiku derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Thursday 20 December 1666.

Poetry Blog Digest 2019: Week 52

Poetry Blogging Network

A personal selection of posts from the Poetry Blogging Network and beyond. Although I tend to quote my favorite bits, please do click through and read the whole posts. This week, bloggers were looking backward, forward, inward and outward. Like most weeks, really. Only with a bit more seemingly at stake.


The closet in my study
holds picture frames, half-empty
boxes of stationery, old books,

pillows and blankets
for the guest bed. And tucked in
amid all of these, a small box

emblazoned Priority Mail,
addressed in your handwriting,
postmarked two years ago.

It slipped behind the quilts
and the crates of journals,
unseen and forgotten.

As I slice open the packing tape
I can scarcely breathe.

Rachel Barenblat, Chanukah gift

It’s so easy now (spoken from the vantage point of a contentious political climate in the U.S. and from the utter devastation we continue to cause on our planet) to imagine that the only writing that could possibly carry weight is writing that challenges systems like government and capitalism. But Oceanic is a good reminder that it’s okay to write about love. (And honestly, what’s a better counter to greed than affection?) As Aimee Nezhukumatathil says in an interview in BookPage, the poems are her way of “following environmentalist Rachel Carson’s belief that the more attention we pay to the natural world around us, the less appetite we have for destruction.”

Also on that note, she tells Tin House, “I want readers to really sit, really think about words and beauty and what brings you joy and wonder and how you can also reflect on past hurts but use that as a strength in facing the future, especially when there are little ones like my son who are looking to me and my husband and others for how to interact in this wild and disappointing and confusing and buoyant world.”

The natural world is so carefully woven into these poems that the collection is a good reminder that we are not separate from the skies and oceans. We are part of one another.

Carolee Bennett, “every mighty beast”

–I have really enjoyed the ability to sit on a balcony and gaze at the ocean.  I’ve watched the sky change and the ocean change, and it’s been amazing–but in a different color palette than I’m used to.  Lots of grays and silvers and subdued blues–there’s a slate and flintiness that keeps the colors away from the Caribbean colors on my side of the Florida coast.

–One of the books I’ve been reading has been Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo, the Booker Prize winner along with Margaret Atwood.  When I first picked it up and flipped through it, I thought I wouldn’t be able to make my way through it.  There’s a startling lack of punctuation and capital letters, except when there’s not, and that kind of inconsistency usually drives me nuts.  But the content is so good that I don’t even notice.

–Most of the people in my family are beyond the age of enchantment.  It’s been great being on vacation at a resort area where there are plenty of little ones who are still enchantable.  There’s a melancholy, too–missing the times when we had enchanted littles amongst us.  But enchantment can still be found, even if we must now try harder for ourselves.  And if we can’t manage it, we can smile at the wonder of others.

Kristin Berkey-Abbott, Vacation Snapshots in Words

There is a silent murmuration of starlings over the neighbor’s house. I’ve been wondering if the new bright red bird feeder has frightened the sparrows. I haven’t seen one in days.

The dog needs walking. And he’ll pull and pull on his harness. Like he knows where he is going.

I told E. today that I don’t want to know what the dog is thinking.
It might be a huge disappointment.

Ren Powell, Solstice

We cannot always get things right. We can be gentler with ourselves when we fall. Some years the frost kills the blossom, bees abandon the hive, a single swallow cuts the dusk for one evening and never returns. But here we are still looking up at the sky, grateful for what we saw, that one small bird found its way home.

Lynne Rees, New Year 2020

Who can summon the voice of the river weighed by slurry?
In my city even the crows have grown less clamorous.

It is left for someone to bring home what lies cold in unturned earth
that hasn’t known the warmth of a worm’s breath.

Uma Gowrishankar, Writing A Poem Through The Solar Eclipse

This morning we watched
four grebes float across rain-pocked water,

watched as one dropped from sight,
then another, then all, and all popping up again
in comic succession, lifting small white wings

and throwing back their heads as if to crow.
What draws us beneath the surface of our lives,
if not minnow or eelgrass, insight

braided, strong enough to pull us deeper?

Bethany Reid, The Pear Tree

Boxing Day. Traditionally, this has been a day of curling up on the couch with a new Christmas book, but for the first time I can remember, I didn’t receive a single one! I wonder if this is a trend among readers of this blog too. We don’t buy or receive as many physical books, and maybe our friends and families are less likely to give them to us. I wonder, and, as a publisher, I worry. No matter — trends haven’t affected my reading patterns very much, except for the change to reading e-books borrowed from the Overdrive service at my library, or purchased on Kindle. I read almost exclusively on my phone, unless I’ve borrowed a physical book from the library. And though I did buy myself a couple of books about Greece that haven’t arrived yet, I’m trying not to acquire too many these days — the shelves are already overburdened. But read, I do.

Beth Adams, Books of 2019: eclectic as usual

I don’t make resolutions or choose a word for the coming year, valuable as those traditions may be for others. But I do have a ritual for the end of the year. I take down my old wall calendar (where a Luddite like me keeps track of life) and refer to it as I enter birthdays and anniversaries into the new calendar. There are plenty of digital solutions that would relieve me of this task, but I like going back over the last 12 months. Each day is scribbled with names, places, and events. As I write important dates in next year’s calendar, here are some of  my 2019’s most memorable contents, randomly ordered. […]

Vigils, rallies, marches. Fewer this year than last because I simply feel broken by all that’s going on, although what needs to change is ever more urgent. And I am ever more likely to cry at these things. Tears are not a useful measure because I also tear up at musical performances, fire trucks hurtling by, and any act of kindness.

Wonderful opportunities to read poetry at Loganberry Books, Wm. Skirball Writing Center, Lit Youngstown, Visible Voice Books, Wick Poetry Center, Ohio Poetry Day Association, Second Sunday Poets, and Literary Cleveland.

The incredible honor of having an excerpt from one of my poems stamped in a public sidewalk, thanks to Lit Youngstown. […]

A poetry appreciation group called Flat Tire Poetry Society, so-named because the idea for the group came about when four of us were stranded late at night somewhere in Cleveland on our way home from a poetry workshop. In the hour it took for a tow truck to arrive we talked about poetry that had changed our lives and decided we wanted to do this more often. Not the stranded part but the poetry discussion part. Now we meet seasonally with whoever of 20-some members can make it.

Laura Grace Weldon, 2019: What A Year

It always good to get new year plans ready in the the week before New Year’s Day. This week has been luxurious and slow moving, and I have had time to write without interruption, which feels very serious and determined, but I hope as the days move on in the break, I will find another rhythm, something that is a bit less serious, yet still mine. Hopefully, I will be able to carry this through the Spring semester.  Again, six courses. But, at the end of this semester, the Earth will be green and ready to encourage us to take off our sensible shoes.  I will be listening. I know I am in a position to make each day significant in big and small ways, and like a cat I will see what I will see. I will nap, purr, hiss, mess around, ignore, annoy, hide all the day long.  It will be quite a year.  Hope it is for you, too.

M. J. Iuppa, Not Chinese Calendar, but this Year, 2020, is self-declared The Year of the Cat.

As we inch closer to 2020, we also inch closer to the impending release of sex & violence from Black Lawrence and some attendant festivities..I am determined to make a book trailer in the next few weeks, and get a start on planning some sort of release party in early summer. I’ve talked a bit about the genesis and nature of the entire book before here, where I wrote:

It was on the heels of some weird and troubling times for women in general, during which I’d been working on some prose poem series centered on some of my favorite things—Plath, horror movies, the work of Salvador Dali, while also working on a series of pieces about relationships and how difficult it is to reconcile love as a straight woman with male privilege and violence. I started to notice threads of ideas connecting all these disparate bits and suddenly had a manuscript that made sense thematically as an encapsulation of all sorts of anxieties that I foster as a woman in the world-about love, about violence and fear, about artmaking itself. 

And it’s true—so much of this book and pulling it together was shaped by a few things that were coinciding in 2017 as I was finishing it– our visit to the Death Museum in New Orleans (very much a church to the terrible things men do (usually to women), the Me Too movement, mass shootings, my own relationship and anxieties (all of these explored in the how to write a love poem in a time of war pieces).  The dirty blonde section, which is older,  is about uncomfortableness with female sexuality and agency.  The Plath centos in honey machine are about domestic routine and the idea of “the wife.” The Dali poems are told from the point of view largely of Dali’s wife in the guise of the ghostly little blue dog.

Kristy Bowen, love and fear

Sometimes I write.‬
‪Sometimes I don’t.‬
‪If it never came back – so what?‬
‪I’ll read what I have already written, ‬
‪and maybe I’ll write about that,‬
‪maybe not.‬
‪Who cares?‬
‪There are many acorns but‬
‪not many trees.‬
‪From a chopped tree make a coffin‬
‪and fill it with acorns.‬

Jim Young, Acorn I can’t

Like an old shirt or nightgown lost in the attic, sometimes the dark needs to hold onto a little piece of us for comfort. And certain nights, a lonesome wind will blow our way, write its legends of wreckage across our skin. Nothing in this life is as solid as love and trust. But sometimes those things break. Sometimes they slip away. There are times the songs of sorrow need our voices more than those of joy.

Rich Ferguson, Sometimes the Dark

the wrecking ball swoops past textile warehouses
skims the metaphors of decline: buckled street signs
an abandoned car      the grainy image of a bird
which must be a crumpled piece of newspaper
blown on the stateless wind

not one scrap of nature here
unless you count the man behind the camera
or the woman on the swing

Julie Mellor, What does time mean to you?

A poet friend and I often talk about how writing poetry gets harder to write, not easier. The voice in my head that chides, you’ve spent decades of your life on this and where has it gotten you? seems to grow louder with each passing year. And yes, I’ve been writing and publishing poems since my late twenties, the voice has a point.

I am not the next Shakespeare.

And yet. Now in the last day of my stay I can see the clipboards lined-up on the countertop with poems I’ve completed, poems I’ve begun, poems in that sweet spot in the middle—the space when I know that they will actually be completed but aren’t completed yet.

I’ve generated new work with the help of the Two Sylvias Advent Calendar (it has a gorgeous design and presentation) and scoured my writing notebooks for drafts written over the past 12 months. And although no one would accuse me of being especially woo-woo, I’ve been faithfully pulling Poet Tarot cards each day and for the last three days, Elizabeth Bishop, Emily Dickinson and Sylvia Plath have all showed up. I don’t know how many cards a tarot deck has (a lot) but statistically speaking, these three favorite poets visiting here everyday is against the odds. 

And along with my poets, I’ve had visits from a family of deer, a gang of bald eagles and many birds I cannot identify but they certainly know how to sing. And I bet they aren’t concerned with how good their voice sounds or if the chickadee or nuthatch in the next tree sound better.

If there is one thing I’ve learned is that writing poems is not a sprint but a marathon, it’s a relationship developed over a lifetime with words like samovar and seesaw, atlas and archipelago. The writing of poems has made me live more intensely, persist even when there’s a 1001 reasons not to, and brought incredible people into my life. And so yes, I’ll be back next year. And hopefully, the next.

Susan Rich, The Christmas Eve and Hanukah Edition 2019

I know that for most people, the ability to set a physical goal and execute on it is a normal, non-earth shattering experience, but for me it’s been huge. I literally didn’t know I was capable of it. I am stunned to find that I enjoy the physical sensation of pushing myself hard, overcoming my physical fatigue and my mental self-doubt, and seeing progress. It’s strengthening me both in body and mind. In essence, I am finding the spiritual through the physical, which is the last place I ever would have looked. In all honestly, I always had a slight contempt for people who I deemed “too into” their physicality. I made the incorrect assumption that they didn’t have anything going on in their brains and that they didn’t have very much depth as people. I was wrong to let my bitterness blind me in that way, but I’ve turned over a new barbell and shall move forward all the wiser for my mistakes. This new series will be an evolution of my poems on The Body. I don’t know where it will take me, but I’m interested to see what emerges.

Kristen McHenry, Body Verses Body, Lessons in Strength, My Date with Kahlil Gibran

I walk a circular path among the oaks,
listening to the news of the world.
Not to brag, but I’m quite skilled
at going in circles. In fact it may be
the only pursuit to which I’ve devoted
ten thousand hours.

Jason Crane, POEM: Lederer Park

Today, at almost the end of the year, I’m trying to stay healthy, battling off various bugs, worried about my father in the hospital for pneumonia (a lot of bad germs going around this year, folks, so be careful!) and still awaiting my first root canal, it’s easy to feel anxious about what the next year will bring. My manuscripts are making the rounds. I have 45 active poetry submissions out right now. I’m trying not to worry about what kind of havoc multiple sclerosis might wreak in the coming years, on my life, my body, my work, my marriage, given that we don’t have a lot of good treatment options or a cure. But I try to continue to have hope.

Jeannine Hall Gailey, Last Days of the Decade, Post-Christmas, What to Do with Long Cold Nights, Looking Forward to 2020, and Grateful for Artist Friends

I’m still trying to edit my collection, I have a pile of forms I need to fill out for my son’s therapy support and I need to go over my numbers for my submissions and publications as I sometimes log things wrong, have to chase up long-held submissions or miss publications like my two poems recently published at Nine Muses Poetry. There’s more application forms waiting in the wings. […]

Every year for Christmas I make a photo book of favourite pictures of the kids and our year, so I can be reminded of the good things, the fun we had. As soon as I click print, I come across another memory I want to add or I take photos that should be there. I will add them to next year’s book, but it’s a nice reminder that things keep moving on and that there will always be something more.

Gerry Stewart, A Messy End to 2019

While re-reading May Sarton’s At Seventy: A Journal, I recalled reading this essay about the book, by Jeffrey Levine, in June. I first read At Seventy when I was, I think, 40 years old…I recommended it to my mother-in-law, who–like Sarton–lived alone and loved to garden. I now recognize in Sarton’s journal aspects of life and aging and creativity that I had not thought much of when I was younger–at 40, I felt envious of her freedom as a single woman. I was raising young teens, managing a busy household, working on a master’s degree, feeling I had no time to myself.

One thing that interests me about Sarton is her decision to keep journals intended for publication, beginning I think with her journal about recovering from cancer, though she had written at least one memoir before that journal. […]

The concept of writing a daily journal intended to be read seems either brave or a bit dishonest, like a persona. Then again–many early weblogs were exactly that: daily public journals read by whatever online audience stumbled upon them. And perhaps this blog acts as my public journal, mostly about what I read, what’s in the garden, and what I’m teaching. Those pursuits, made public, do not mask who I am. They are the things I choose to reveal.

Ann E. Michael, Journals

I believe and have believed for years that Christmas would be much improved if it occurred in February in that long bleak stretch of unbroken winter where nothing is green and the sky and water jostle for a bit of blue I could really bring the joy in February now of course we are in that liminal space between Christmas and New Year’s day where everything seems to stop completely except the eating of cheese and chocolates of course 

yesterday I drove to Mount Vernon to look at the snow geese and the trumpeter swans and hawks and eagles that live there in abundance in the now abandoned cornfields that drive along Old Pioneer Highway is gorgeous to me and absolutely teeming with Animal Gods three times now I have seen red foxes standing alert in those cornfields I stopped and looked at the Skagit River of course I got out of my car and slid down the muddy bank and just stood there breathing

Rebecca Loudon, Pig and farm report

It was in part that tendency I had anyway of sitting and watching and taking note that had attracted me to animal behavior studies in the first place. And, as it has turned out, is the skill I use most as a writer of poetry. Thanks to my anthropology studies, I can understand what I’m up to as I sit in whatever milieu, observing, and trying to look like I belong there.

I was reminded of all this recently as I have been reading Akiko Busch’s How to Disappear: Notes on Invisibility in a Time of Transparency. The book is Busch’s extended meditation on the powers and prisons of invisibility. I’m not entirely sure what the takeaway is from this book as a whole, but each chapter provided an interesting set of thoughts ranging from the deliberate invisibility of some species’ adaptations to the imposed invisibility of homeless people on busy streets.

She talks in one chapter of Keats’s assertion that the poet specializes in being a chameleon: of becoming a planet, a creature, another person. Busch was moved to write the book, she says, by the vehemence with which society insists on flouting the self, branding the self, identifying the self as a political act. Maybe, she suggests, a little wallflowering isn’t such a bad thing. Maybe if we keep still, we can see more clearly.

Marilyn McCabe, Somebody was watchin’; or, On Participant Observation and the Artistic Urge to Tell

The cook is
frying a ham steak.

The sear of it,
the aroma.

The waitress is
pouring coffee,

hot and black
and slightly burned.

Somewhere
in the distance,

a siren.
There are stories

you can tell and
stories you can’t.

Tom Montag, ANOTHER MORNING

The most profound experience for me as a human being so far has been parenthood. It’s testing one’s greatnesses and inner devils everyday. It trully means sacrifice and everyday self-restriction. Of course there is a chance that when children become adults everything will get easier and their lives will run fine and thus the work you’ve done will be rewarded with gratitude and obvious results. But the reward is much more immediate, though not obvious, and already there. For this kind of love you grow a prophet everyday, if lucky, if strong enough. You go to the desert every morning and come back to the well at night. Circle after circle your heart gets stronger.

Last but not least: Our body. Our body will, as a friend put it in his wonderful essay about his battle with his own once female body, finally betray us at some point, but it won’t ever go down silently. Our body doesn’t care about others. It exists on its own terms. It won’t care about motherhood or marriage or age, won’t care about your female or male strangles, won’t care about distances or time. The body won’t care because its mind is the sensual touch. Your body will always seek the tasty food, the good light, the warm water, the other skin, this earth itself. For most of us it is the only mythical relationship we’ll have, and the one we must constantly manage with all its dramatic ups and downs. We’re animal and human, we live in reality and in our physically real at the same time. We’re centaurs, we are minotaurs, we are wanderers between Olympus and Hades. Decade after decade.

Magda Kapa, Decade after Decade

Let me be a weed in the river, let me be one speck of dust in the desert. A thought that came and went. Let me be the dream that could not be remembered upon awakening. That’s for me. Let me be small, the universe is so large. Inhale, exhale. Life is what is happening right now.

James Lee Jobe, Let me be a weed in the river, let me be one speck of dust in the desert.

Partisan

holloway overhung with ancient trees n Cornwall

Up, and by water down to White Hall, and there with the Duke of York did our usual business, but nothing but complaints of want of money [without] success, and Sir W. Coventry’s complaint of the defects of our office (indeed Sir J. Minnes’s) without any amendment, and he tells us so plainly of the Committee of Parliament’s resolution to enquire home into all our managements that it makes me resolve to be wary, and to do all things betimes to be ready for them. Thence going away met Mr. Hingston the organist (my old acquaintance) in the Court, and I took him to the Dog Taverne and got him to set me a bass to my “It is decreed,” which I think will go well, but he commends the song not knowing the words, but says the ayre is good, and believes the words are plainly expressed. He is of my mind against having of 8ths unnecessarily in composition. This did all please me mightily. Then to talk of the King’s family. He says many of the musique are ready to starve, they being five years behindhand for their wages; nay, Evens, the famous man upon the Harp having not his equal in the world, did the other day die for mere want, and was fain to be buried at the almes of the parish, and carried to his grave in the dark at night without one linke, but that Mr. Hingston met it by chance, and did give 12d. to buy two or three links. He says all must come to ruin at this rate, and I believe him.
Thence I up to the Lords’ House to enquire for Lord Bellasses; and there hear how at a conference this morning between the two Houses about the business of the Canary Company, my Lord Buckingham leaning rudely over my Lord Marquis Dorchester, my Lord Dorchester removed his elbow. Duke of Buckingham asked him whether he was uneasy; Dorchester replied, yes, and that he durst not do this were he any where else: Buckingham replied, yes he would, and that he was a better man than himself; Dorchester answered that he lyed. With this Buckingham struck off his hat, and took him by his periwigg, and pulled it aside, and held him. My Lord Chamberlain and others interposed, and, upon coming into the House, the Lords did order them both to the Tower, whither they are to go this afternoon.
I down into the Hall, and there the Lieutenant of the Tower took me with him, and would have me to the Tower to dinner; where I dined at the head of his table, next his lady, who is comely and seeming sober and stately, but very proud and very cunning, or I am mistaken, and wanton, too. This day’s work will bring the Lieutenant of the Tower 350l.. But a strange, conceited, vain man he is that ever I met withal, in his own praise, as I have heretofore observed of him. Thence home, and upon Tower Hill saw about 3 or 400 seamen get together; and one, standing upon a pile of bricks, made his sign, with his handkercher, upon his stick, and called all the rest to him, and several shouts they gave. This made me afeard; so I got home as fast as I could. And hearing of no present hurt did go to Sir Robert Viner’s about my plate again, and coming home do hear of 1000 seamen said in the streets to be in armes. So in great fear home, expecting to find a tumult about my house, and was doubtful of my riches there. But I thank God I found all well. But by and by Sir W. Batten and Sir R. Ford do tell me, that the seamen have been at some prisons, to release some seamen, and the Duke of Albemarle is in armes, and all the Guards at the other end of the town; and the Duke of Albemarle is gone with some forces to Wapping, to quell the seamen; which is a thing of infinite disgrace to us.
I sat long talking with them; and, among other things, Sir R. Ford did make me understand how the House of Commons is a beast not to be understood, it being impossible to know beforehand the success almost of any small plain thing, there being so many to think and speak to any business, and they of so uncertain minds and interests and passions.
He did tell me, and so did Sir W. Batten, how Sir Allen Brodericke and Sir Allen Apsly did come drunk the other day into the House, and did both speak for half an hour together, and could not be either laughed, or pulled, or bid to sit down and hold their peace, to the great contempt of the King’s servants and cause; which I am grieved at with all my heart.
We were full in discourse of the sad state of our times, and the horrid shame brought on the King’s service by the just clamours of the poor seamen, and that we must be undone in a little time.
Home full of trouble on these considerations, and, among other things, I to my chamber, and there to ticket a good part of my books, in order to the numbering of them for my easy finding them to read as I have occasion.
So to supper and to bed, with my heart full of trouble.

I am at all times ready
to believe words plainly expressed

ready to die and be buried
in the dark without a hat

I am better than
that struck-off hat

or this head next to it
served up on a stick

to shout about the infinite
a beast not to be understood

it being impossible to know
almost any small plain thing

and so certain as a drunk
for half an hour I grieve
at the just clamors of the poor


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Wednesday 19 December 1666.

From the Book of Outlines

holloway overhung with ancient trees n Cornwall
I bound together what I was told I should bind
together, and discarded what I was told
was no good. I marked notebooks for current
affairs, for settled, for past due.
Many are filled to the very last page;
but there are five journals that still
look new and pristine. When bags overflowed
I put them before me so I could
shred what needed to be shred by hand.
How many lifetimes are needed to put
one's affairs in order? I don't feel sorry
I have so many books, and cupboards full
of things that can make the mouth remember
there's still pleasure in the world.

From the Book of Outlines

holloway overhung with ancient trees n Cornwall
I refute the idea of foreclosure.
I refute the idea of fates being sealed.
I refute the whips and stings of tribulation.
I refute the idea that reward will come
at some future, undetermined time.
I refute the veil of unworthiness
and those who would drop it on my head.
I refute the idea of disaster
surely waiting around every bend.
I refute every last chance, every now
or never, every cliff's edge.

Holiday nap

holloway overhung with ancient trees n Cornwall

Up, and to the office, where I hear the ill news that poor Batters, that had been born and bred a seaman, and brought up his ship from sea but yesterday, was, going down from me to his ship, drowned in the Thames, which is a sad fortune, and do make me afeard, and will do, more than ever I was.
At noon dined at home, and then by coach to my Lord Bellasses, but not at home. So to Westminster Hall, where the Lords are sitting still, I to see Mrs. Martin, who is very well, and intends to go abroad to-morrow after her childbed. She do tell me that this child did come la meme jour that it ought to hazer after my avoir ete con elle before her marido did venir home la meme jour that it ought to hazer after my avoir ete con elle before her marido did venir home. And she would now have done anything cum ego; and did endeavor, but su cosa stava mala, which did empescar. Thence to the Swan, and there I sent for Sarah and mighty merry we were, but contra my will were very far from hazer algo. So to Sir Robert Viner’s about my plate, and carried home another dozen of plates, which makes my stock of plates up 2 1/2 dozen, and at home find Mr. Thomas Andrews, with whom I staid and talked a little and invited him to dine with me at Christmas, and then I to the office, and there late doing business, and so home and to bed. Sorry for poor Batters.

I hear the sea from my bed

it ought to go out
and doze a little
at Christmas


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Tuesday 18 December 1666.