Modernist

Up, and after an houre or two’s talke with my poor wife, who gives me more and more content every day than other, I abroad by coach to Westminster, and there met with Mrs. Martin, and she and I over the water to Stangold, and after a walke in the fields to the King’s Head, and there spent an houre or two with pleasure with her, and eat a tansy and so parted, and I to the New Exchange, there to get a list of all the modern plays which I intend to collect and to have them bound up together. Thence to Mr. Hales’s, and there, though against his particular mind, I had my landskipp done out, and only a heaven made in the roome of it, which though it do not please me thoroughly now it is done, yet it will do better than as it was before.
Thence to Paul’s Churchyarde, and there bespoke some new books, and so to my ruling woman’s and there did see my work a doing, and so home and to my office a little, but was hindered of business I intended by being sent for to Mrs. Turner, who desired some discourse with me and lay her condition before me, which is bad and poor. Sir Thomas Harvey intends again to have lodgings in her house, which she prays me to prevent if I can, which I promised. Thence to talke generally of our neighbours. I find she tells me the faults of all of them, and their bad words of me and my wife, and indeed do discover more than I thought. So I told her, and so will practise that I will have nothing to do with any of them. She ended all with a promise of shells to my wife, very fine ones indeed, and seems to have great respect and honour for my wife. So home and to bed.

give me the road
over a walk in the fields

our art is modern
and against landscape

an only heaven made
in the room of it

now is better than then
to work is to pray

our words have nothing to do
with any hell


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Friday 20 April 1666.

Unwelcome guest

Lay long in bed, so to the office, where all the morning. At noon dined with Sir W. Warren at the Pope’s Head. So back to the office, and there met with the Commissioners of the Ordnance, where Sir W. Pen being almost drunk vexed me, and the more because Mr. Chichly observed it with me, and it was a disparagement to the office.
They gone I to my office. Anon comes home my wife from Brampton, not looked for till Saturday, which will hinder me of a little pleasure, but I am glad of her coming. She tells me Pall’s business with Ensum is like to go on, but I must give, and she consents to it, another 100. She says she doubts my father is in want of money, for rents come in mighty slowly. My mother grows very unpleasant and troublesome and my father mighty infirm through his old distemper, which altogether makes me mighty thoughtfull. Having heard all this and bid her welcome I to the office, where late, and so home, and after a little more talk with my wife, she to bed and I after her.

morning warhead
coming in like a moth
my old temper


Erasure haiku derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Thursday 19 April 1666.

Evolutionaries

[Up] and by coach with Sir W. Batten and Sir Thos. Allen to White Hall, and there after attending the Duke as usual and there concluding of many things preparatory to the Prince and Generall’s going to sea on Monday next, Sir W. Batten and Sir T. Allen and I to Mr. Lilly’s, the painter’s; and there saw the heads, some finished, and all begun, of the Flaggmen in the late great fight with the Duke of Yorke against the Dutch. The Duke of Yorke hath them done to hang in his chamber, and very finely they are done indeed. Here is the Prince’s, Sir G. Askue’s, Sir Thomas Teddiman’s, Sir Christopher Mings, Sir Joseph Jordan, Sir William Barkeley, Sir Thomas Allen, and Captain Harman’s, as also the Duke of Albemarle’s; and will be my Lord Sandwich’s, Sir W. Pen’s, and Sir Jeremy Smith’s. Being very well satisfied with this sight, and other good pictures hanging in the house, we parted, and I left them, and [to] pass away a little time went to the printed picture seller’s in the way thence to the Exchange, and there did see great plenty of fine prints; but did not buy any, only a print of an old pillar in Rome made for a Navall Triumph, which for the antiquity of the shape of ships, I buy and keepe.
Thence to the Exchange, that is, the New Exchange, and looked over some play books and intend to get all the late new plays. So to Westminster, and there at the Swan got a bit of meat and dined alone; and so away toward King’s Street, and spying out of my coach Jane that lived heretofore at Jevons, my barber’s, I went a little further and stopped, and went on foot back, and overtook her, taking water at Westminster Bridge, and spoke to her, and she telling me whither she was going I over the water and met her at Lambeth, and there drank with her; she telling me how he that was so long her servant, did prove to be a married man, though her master told me (which she denies) that he had lain with her several times in his house.
There left her ‘sans essayer alcune cose con elle’, and so away by boat to the ‘Change, and took coach and to Mr. Hales, where he would have persuaded me to have had the landskipp stand in my picture, but I like it not and will have it otherwise, which I perceive he do not like so well, however is so civil as to say it shall be altered. Thence away to Mrs. Pierces, who was not at home, but gone to my house to visit me with Mrs. Knipp. I therefore took up the little girle Betty and my mayde Mary that now lives there and to my house, where they had been but were gone, so in our way back again met them coming back again to my house in Cornehill, and there stopped laughing at our pretty misfortunes, and so I carried them to Fish Streete, and there treated them with prawns and lobsters, and it beginning to grow darke we away, but the jest is our horses would not draw us up the Hill, but we were fain to ‘light and stay till the coachman had made them draw down to the bottom of the Hill, thereby warming their legs, and then they came up cheerfully enough, and we got up and I carried them home, and coming home called at my paper ruler’s and there found black Nan, which pleases me mightily, and having saluted her again and again away home and to bed apres ayant tocado les mamelles de Mercer, que cran ouverts, con grand plaisir.
In all my ridings in the coach and intervals my mind hath been full these three weeks of setting in musique “It is decreed, &c.”

at sea we imprinted
on the shape of ships
taking water as a master

but like fish
beginning to grow legs
we go up into the full music


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Wednesday 18 April 1666.

Widow’s walk

Up, and to the office, where all the morning. At noon dined at home, my brother Balty with me, who is fitting himself to go to sea. So after dinner to my accounts and did proceed a good way in settling them, and thence to the office, where all the afternoon late, writing my letters and doing business, but, Lord! what a conflict I had with myself, my heart tempting me 1000 times to go abroad about some pleasure or other, notwithstanding the weather foule. However I reproached myself with my weaknesse in yielding so much my judgment to my sense, and prevailed with difficulty and did not budge, but stayed within, and, to my great content, did a great deale of business, and so home to supper and to bed. This day I am told that Moll Davis, the pretty girle, that sang and danced so well at the Duke’s house, is dead.

who is fit to go to sea
in the heart

some other weather
I ache so much to sense

but I am old

the pretty girl that sang
and danced is dead


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Tuesday 17 April 1666.

Undercover

Up, and set my people, Mercer, W. Hewer, Tom and the girle at work at ruling and stitching my ruled book for the Muster-Masters, and I hard toward the settling of my Tangier accounts. At noon dined alone, the girl Mercer taking physique can eat nothing, and W. Hewer went forth to dinner. So up to my accounts again, and then comes Mrs. Mercer and fair Mrs. Turner, a neighbour of hers that my wife knows by their means, to visit me. I staid a great while with them, being taken with this pretty woman, though a mighty silly, affected citizen woman she is. Then I left them to come to me at supper anon, and myself out by coach to the old woman in Pannyer Alley for my ruled papers, and they are done, and I am much more taken with her black maid Nan. Thence further to Westminster, thinking to have met Mrs. Martin, but could not find her, so back and called at Kirton’s to borrow 10s. to pay for my ruled papers, I having not money in my pocket enough to pay for them. But it was a pretty consideration that on this occasion I was considering where I could with most confidence in a time of need borrow 10s., and I protest I could not tell where to do it and with some trouble and fear did aske it here. So that God keepe me from want, for I shall be in a very bad condition to helpe myself if ever I should come to want or borrow.
Thence called for my papers and so home, and there comes Mrs. Turner and Mercer and supped with me, and well pleased I was with their company, but especially Mrs. Turner’s, she being a very pretty woman of person and her face pretty good, the colour of her haire very fine and light.
They staid with me talking till about eleven o’clock and so home, W. Hewer, who supped with me, leading them home. So I to bed.

my ruling itch
cannot find me

with my company face
the color of a clock


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Monday 16 April 1666.

What about the children

(Easter Day). Up and by water to Westminster to the Swan to lay down my cloak, and there found Sarah alone, with whom after I had staid awhile I to White Hall Chapel, and there coming late could hear nothing of the Bishop of London’s sermon. So walked into the Park to the Queene’s chappell, and there heard a good deal of their mass, and some of their musique, which is not so contemptible, I think, as our people would make it, it pleasing me very well; and, indeed, better than the anthem I heard afterwards at White Hall, at my coming back.
I staid till the King went down to receive the Sacrament, and stood in his closett with a great many others, and there saw him receive it, which I did never see the manner of before. But I do see very little difference between the degree of the ceremonies used by our people in the administration thereof, and that in the Roman church, saving that methought our Chappell was not so fine, nor the manner of doing it so glorious, as it was in the Queene’s chappell.
Thence walked to Mr. Pierces, and there dined, I alone with him and her and their children: very good company and good discourse, they being able to tell me all the businesses of the Court; the amours and the mad doings that are there; how for certain Mrs. Stewart do do everything with the King that a mistress should do; and that the King hath many bastard children that are known and owned, besides the Duke of Monmouth. After a great deale of this discourse I walked thence into the Parke with her little boy James with me, who is the wittiest boy and the best company in the world, and so back again through White Hall both coming and going, and people did generally take him to be my boy and some would aske me.
Thence home to Mr. Pierce again; and he being gone forth, she and I and the children out by coach to Kensington, to where we were the other day, and with great pleasure stayed till night; and were mighty late getting home, the horses tiring and stopping at every twenty steps. By the way we discoursed of Mrs. Clerke, who, she says, is grown mighty high, fine, and proud, but tells me an odd story how Captain Rolt did see her the other day accost a gentleman in Westminster Hall and went with him, and he dogged them to Moorefields to a little blind bawdy house, and there staid watching three hours and they come not out, so could stay no longer but left them there, and he is sure it was she, he knowing her well and describing her very clothes to Mrs. Pierce, which she knows are what she wears.
Seeing them well at home I homeward, but the horses at Ludgate Hill made a final stop; so there I ‘lighted, and with a linke, it being about 10 o’clock, walked home, and after singing a Psalm or two and supped to bed.

Easter is for the glorious
children of amours

bastard children that know
the best world going

children grown odd in the fields
watching the horses


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Sunday 15 April 1666.

Poetry Blog Digest 2019: Week 16

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: water, fire, destruction, creation. Religion. Books and poems.


A woman dropped a poem in a well and waited to hear it hit bottom. No knowing how deep the hole or how black the water. If you could even see the stars from that sort of depth.   Who knows where the source begins. Where it clouds with grief. What relief to hear nothing at all.  What vacancy lurking behind every vowel like a shadow.

Kristy Bowen, napowrimo #14 & #15

What will our cities look like when sea levels rise amid the permanent consequences of climate change?

At last, here is the final version of “floodtide” = a video that I first showed and performed at the Paroxysm Press Fringe event this year.

Nearly every scene in the video has been artificially composited and animated from multiple sources, originally filmed in multiple locations around the greater Adelaide area, the Fleurieu Peninsula, Kangaroo Island, inner city Melbourne and its Port, Far North Queensland, and more… [Click through to watch the videopoem]

Ian Gibbins, floodtide

Then, the flood: flash. Side of road overwashed
as we are washed over. Swept. Wind is the broom
and we the debris. Unnecessary as dust or crumbs.
What name can we give to this occurrence? Call it
natural. Disaster. Or just a Thing That Happens.
Not that the name means much to us once we drown
in it, sucked under and curled into water’s embrace
whether sea or river or the lake become enraged
by thunderous sky or thunderous quaking crusts
the planet [they say] possesses. Loose scutes or
scales. Loose bark, like a tree. Pieces of slate
shorn sideways. Shear. Water. A species of bird,
Calonectris, that touches earth only to breed.

Ann E. Michael, Half-way through

The idea that Notre-Dame might be reduced to a hole in the ground, a collection of rubble terrified me.  When I lived in Paris, or before that, or after, the Cathedral lodged itself deeply in my being. A friend mentioned he just loved the smell – the stone-cellar and incense smell, the millennial smell.  To those who lob the charge that a church is just a building, I’d answer that it embodies a reach towards beauty and a divine; the anonymous artists were launching a message in a bottle to us in the future.  If someone got spacey and was questioning reality, they only had check that  massive stone exemplar of material culture – touch feel it, know its place on earth in the now.

I’m thinking, now of the book I’m going to be reading tonight, the Passover Haggadah.  As a material object, it’s generally minor, though I do love the book as object.  This ritual book collects up narrative of escape, the road, liberation, impermanence made continuous through telling.  Wandering Jews cherish our books which contain worlds.  They’re portable and tell of things that couldn’t be saved, couldn’t be etched or carried or kept in stone. Stone is irrelevant.

Material culture is dissolving into a haze.  We’ll be doing a lot more of the wandering exile narrative thing, it seems. Forests and species will be translated into words by writer, poets, narrators. We’ll be telling each other about glaciers, extinct frogs and birds in books.  We’ll be carrying them with us in our bags, on our backs, taking and transmitting evidence of a world of constant change.

Jill Pearlman, Passover, Notre-Dame and the Book Thing

The world constantly reminds us that nothing is permanent. Nothing escapes destruction.

wisteria in bloom ::
what the old stones don’t tell

Dylan Tweney, [untitled haibun]

We’ve had a great week of justice action in our church and larger community in South Florida. Last week I scribbled on a bulletin, and yesterday morning, I started to think about a poem. These ideas spurred my creativity:

We have built our house of justice in hurricane country.

We have made a home in the swamp of despair.

In this abandoned waste dump, we have claimed a homestead.

If we then create some fill in the blanks, maybe we get some different options:

We have built ________ in hurricane country.

We have built our house of justice in ________.

We have made ______ in the swamp of despair.

In this _______, we have claimed a homestead.

In this abandoned waste dump, we have claimed __________.

Kristin Berkey-Abbott, Writing Prompts for Holy Week

When the house lights went down
I started to cry. It’s just
a third grade concert — songs

about “this earth our home”
with canned accompaniment
and four third-grade classes

fidgeting on the risers — but
you’d have loved it. […]

I wiped my eyes furiously, hoping
no one noticed the ridiculous mom

in the second row who was moved
to tears by songs about recycling.
This is how I send you video now,

Mom: these poems I don’t know
if you can hear from where you are,
this earth no longer your home.

Rachel Barenblat, This earth our home

The shower shoots out Morse Code, rapid-fire dashes
(dash-dot-dot gap dash-dash-dash gap dash) in gray lines
sloppily staccato in midair. My eyes trance
watching them, wondering what secret messages
they carry that I will never know how to read.
Closing my eyes, the codes tap against my dermis,
vibrating with heat like sunlight, telling me: Here
is the shape of the thing that is you. Here are limbs
and rims, edges and fringes, points and portals. Know
your limits.

PF Anderson, -.. — –

It’s 11pm and I should be asleep.
In the morning I’ll pay for it
with a dull headache,
leaden arms and legs and a desire
for everything to go away so I can
stretch out on the sofa, sip coffee,
and listen to the wind rustling
the palm trees. I’ve been there before.

Charlotte Hamrick, Write then Sleep

I love seeing how the designers rise to a challenge, within minutes conjuring all kinds of ideas, choices of colors, shapes, the imagination, the technical skills required. I love the way they become truly wrecked throughout the course of the competition, sleep deprived, on edge, and how they always say the competition pushed themselves to do things they would not otherwise have done.

I don’t know anything about fashion or clothing design, so I don’t really understand exactly what they mean, but I would like to feel that feeling — of trying something I’m not entirely sure I can pull off. The problem with not being in a reality show about writing poetry is that I have to come up with my own challenges and push.

I have had that experience — in recent times, for example, trying to write a long poem with long lines and leaps, pushing and elbowing and elbowing the boundaries of the poem. My first videopoem pushed me in this way, and my animations. (Can I really draw an octopus that looks recognizably like the same octopus across ten frames? Fortunately, all octopuses look sort of the same….)

So what’s it all for? Well, as regular readers know from a previous post in which I revealed the meaning of life to be, well, a meaningless question, I don’t think “it” is all “for” anything. It just is. I wake up every day (so far). So what am I going to do?

Marilyn McCabe, Bring it on home; or Thoughts on Structure

I have been working on taking deep breaths that go all the way down through my toes and back up through the crown of my head.
I have been reading poems because it is National Poetry Month and each morning copying someone’s poem into my journal then writing my own “bad” version of it.
I have making homemade enchiladas and eating them with my daughters and their various friends and boyfriends.
I’ve been moving my furniture around in my house and seeing if I can get something like a “flow” going. (I think it has helped.)
I have been walking every day and snapping pictures on my I-phone and not remembering to share them on Instagram.
I’ve (gasp) shared several chapters of my mystery novel and now my first two readers are saying, “C’mon, where’s the rest? No fair!”
I have been reading my poems here and there and listening to other poets read their poems.

Bethany Reid, Where have you been, Bethany?

A few months ago, I had sent three poems to a juried committee for a local community event called Ars Poetica, a collaboration of poets’ words and artists’ interpretations. All three poems were chosen, two by one artist, one by another, who then set about making art from what they felt the poems were saying to them, in preparation for a gallery exhibition and poetry reading. When the day came to attend the public event, I was prepared.

Prepared to be very nervous. Prepared to be disappointed in my own delivery of the poems. Prepared to feel let down, or overwhelmed. I wasn’t prepared for the emotional response I would have to seeing my poems on a gallery wall, never mind the stunning impact of the art which emerged from the images I  had conjured in the privacy of my mind.

Or how momentous it would feel to meet in person, the artists who had engaged so deeply with my work, Melissa McCanna and Steve Parmalee. It was a magical experience: unexpected in its impact, momentous in the way it renewed my understanding of why I write. To connect, to inspire, but more importantly, to experience the creative force that is life-giving, joyful, heart-sustaining, and community-building. May we all find ways to connect with Source, with one another, and may we all remain open to the blessedly unexpected gift of joy.

Sarah Stockton, Unprepared for Joy

We’ve had a number of terrific readers in Seattle recently, but I hadn’t been well enough (or free of doctor’s appointments enough) to make it to any until yesterday. Last night Ilya Kaminsky read from his terrific new book, Deaf Republic, and Mark Doty read poems, and it was wonderful to see them plus say hi to a punch of local poets I don’t see often enough. Thanks are due to Susan Rich for arranging the reading!

Glenn shot this pic on the way to the reading. We pulled over in a school parking lot because the cherry trees were so astounding! I have been hibernating a bit lately due to cold weather and being slightly under the weather, but it was so cheering to hear such great poetry and see so many friends in a warm setting. And there’s something rejuvenating about getting out, dressing up a little, being around humans who aren’t trying to take blood or give you a prescription!

Jeannine Hall Gailey, Poetry Month is Half Over! Poems Up at Menacing Hedge, Plus Ilya Kaminsky and Mark Doty visit a Seatte coffee shop, and More Blooms

But reader, I have other things I must confess.  As hard as it may be to accept, I have never watched  Game of Thrones.

I confess to reading Tasty Other by Katie Manning. Poems of pregnancy, and birth, along with swollen ankles,  lactation, weird dreams, and urges.  You might think it would be a book that maybe guys might not quite get the full benefit of.  Maybe being a father of four (albeit grown) kids, who has been in the delivery room for each, or that is it well-written poetry, or more likely both, but I liked it, a lot.

I confess that I am reading several other books, yes at the same time.

It’s National Poetry Month and I confess I did not write one poem this past week. (Insert bad poet award here)  I did revise and work on several drafts. (insert special dispensation from the higher poet here).

Michael Allyn Wells, Confession Tuesday – Tears for a Fire

The Bones of Winter Birds by Ann Fisher-Wirth went into the purse a couple of days later, at a very low moment, when the strep seemed to be bouncing back, or was it something else–could it be mono, the nurse practitioner asked? A couple of needle stabs later, the verdict is probably not, but this snow-covered beauty of a book was great company in uncertainty. The first poem in Fisher-Wirth’s book is a gigan, a form invented by Ruth Ellen Kocher that I’d never tried before, so I had to experiment immediately, and you should go for it, too. (As soon as you start getting stuck you have to repeat a line, which is handy. My prompt to you: write a gigan about something BIG.) After I scratched that itch and jumped back in, I was moved again and again. There is a sequence mourning a sister Fisher-Wirth didn’t know well, and there are also a number of small gems, talismans of grief transformed into beauty, like “Vicksburg National Military Park”. Here’s a slightly longer one, funny-heartbreaking: “Love Minus Zero.”

Like Fisher-Wirth’s book, Martha Silano’s Gravity Assist is deeply ecopoetic: she’s trying to rocket out to the big picture, taking in species loss, disastrous pollution, and other terrors of the anthropocene. Silano is one of our best science poets, in my opinion, but she’s also a specialist in awe, exuberant about beauty and love and the good things that persist in this damaged world (for the moment!). Her gorgeous “Peach Glosa” reminds me I’ve never successfully attempted that form…hmm. Also, it’s not online, but if you’re a tired and overextended woman irritated by exhortations to tranquility, you need to get this book and read “Dear Mr. Wordsworth.”

Lesley Wheeler, Nibbling on gigans and glosas

Rena Priest’s first book, “Patriarchy Blues” (MoonPath Press, 2017) won an American Book award. Her new chapbook, “Sublime Subliminal” (Floating Bridge Press, 2018) was a finalist for the Floating Bridge Chapbook Award. In an interview posted at the Mineral School’s blog conducted during her fellowship residency there in October 2018, Priest had this to say about her writing:

[T]he poems don’t always make sense, but I want to give my reader the feeling that there is some underlying formula involved, and I want to anchor them with images.

When reading Priest, it would be wise to take her guidance to heart. To look for the clues that emerge from the images she offers. To consider how her poems’ underlying structures, like subduction plates, may be moving even as they anchor. Be alert to the subliminal messages that are strewn throughout “Sublime Subliminal.” Some of these messages are found standing on their heads in tiny italics at the bottoms of pages on the outside or inside edges. That you don’t notice them right away is your first subliminal cue of what you are in store for as a reader. And then dig in. There is much craft to envy in these poems.

Risa Denenberg, Sublime Subliminal

The religious images, honestly, go right by me. And I know, that’s sad; they’re probably the heart of this poem, so who knows what I’m missing. But let’s just say the Bible is my worst category on Jeopardy!, along with British monarchs and Roman numerals. So I have to set aside the Jesus imagery for someone to explain who is more schooled in it. I’m all about the work itself, and the slightly hallucinatory exhaustion afterward, because I’ve done that, I remember that; I worked so hard (ranch hand, long ago) and got so dirty that the bathwater hurt at the end of the day and literally ran like mud down the drain.

And then Carruth takes us back into the history of field work, of forced labor and slavery, and his images are still raw and immediate—everything that happens to those hands! And by the end, there’s his defiance, a sort of punch-drunk triumph, a strength (even momentary) in being the person who does the work, one of those who actually did the haying and the lifting, the digging and the building. There’s a little discomfort here—he’s already admitted he’s a “desk-servant, word-worker”—but any poet who can help out for a day of haying and go home and write a poem like this is also doing great work.

Amy Miller, 30 Great Poems for April, Day 20: “Emergency Haying” by Hayden Carruth

I learned that guilds are basically conservative.  Innovation was frowned upon because it may give one artisan an advantage over the others.  Designs and methods did not change quickly.
 
I also learned about the dyes:

From “Colors”:

Red made from roots of madder,
yellow from everything but the roots
of weld, the challenge is blue:
woad leaves dried, fermented, spread
on stone for nine stinky weeks.

From India Vasco da Gama
brings indigo, a better blue.

Before science can prove
the chemical’s the same, central heat
warms walls; tapestries are not needed.

Other colors were made from these three, as we learned from the color wheel in grade school.  The lion is some shade of yellow.  The unicorn stands out because he is white.

Ellen Roberts Young, More About Tapestry Unicorns

A slow and perfect spring rain
Stretches out into a second morning,
And my backyard drinks it up
With no one watching but me.
The others in my home sleep late,
And won’t go out back anyway.
Nor me, but I watch from a window,
My meditation is done
And the first light of day grows.
I am quiet, sipping black coffee
And watching the rain.

James Lee Jobe, ‘A slow and perfect spring rain’ //

Deracinated

Up about seven and finished our papers, he and I, and I delivered him tallys and some money and so away I to the office, where we sat all the morning. At noon dined at home and Creed with me, then parted, and I to the office, and anon called thence by Sir H. Cholmley and he and I to my chamber, and there settled our matters of accounts, and did give him tallys and money to clear him, and so he being gone and all these accounts cleared I shall be even with the King, so as to make a very clear and short account in a very few days, which pleases me very well. Here he and I discoursed a great while about Tangier, and he do convince me, as things are now ordered by my Lord Bellasses and will be by Norwood (men that do only mind themselves), the garrison will never come to any thing, and he proposes his owne being governor, which in truth I do think will do very well, and that he will bring it to something. He gone I to my office, where to write letters late, and then home and looked over a little more my papers of accounts lately passed, and so to bed.

in our paper office
in our cleared wood
that only mind will ever own
where to write
letters home to


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Saturday 14 April 1666.

Vigil

Up, being called up by my wife’s brother, for whom I have got a commission from the Duke of Yorke for Muster-Master of one of the divisions, of which Harman is Rere-Admirall, of which I am glad as well as he. After I had acquainted him with it, and discoursed a little of it, I went forth and took him with me by coach to the Duke of Albemarle, who being not up, I took a walk with Balty into the Parke, and to the Queene’s Chappell, it being Good Friday, where people were all upon their knees very silent; but, it seems, no masse this day. So back and waited on the Duke and received some commands of his, and so by coach to Mr. Hales’s, where it is pretty strange to see that his second doing, I mean the second time of her sitting, is less like Mrs. Pierce than the first, and yet I am confident will be most like her, for he is so curious that I do not see how it is possible for him to mistake.
Here he and I presently resolved of going to White Hall, to spend an houre in the galleries there among the pictures, and we did so to my great satisfaction, he shewing me the difference in the payntings, and when I come more and more to distinguish and observe the workmanship, I do not find so many good things as I thought there was, but yet great difference between the works of some and others; and, while my head and judgment was full of these, I would go back again to his house to see his pictures, and indeed, though, I think, at first sight some difference do open, yet very inconsiderably but that I may judge his to be very good pictures. Here we fell into discourse of my picture, and I am for his putting out the Landskipp, though he says it is very well done, yet I do judge it will be best without it, and so it shall be put out, and be made a plain sky like my wife’s picture, which will be very noble.
Thence called upon an old woman in Pannier Ally to agree for ruling of some paper for me and she will do it pretty cheap. Here I found her have a very comely black mayde to her servant, which I liked very well.
So home to dinner and to see my joiner do the bench upon my leads to my great content. After dinner I abroad to carry paper to my old woman, and so to Westminster Hall, and there beyond my intention or design did see and speak with Betty Howlett, at her father’s still, and it seems they carry her to her own house to begin the world with her young husband on Monday next, Easter Monday. I please myself with the thoughts of her neighbourhood, for I love the girl mightily.
Thence home, and thither comes Mr. Houblon and a brother, with whom I evened for the charter parties of their ships for Tangier, and paid them the third advance on their freight to full satisfaction, and so, they being gone, comes Creed and with him till past one in the morning, evening his accounts till my head aked and I was fit for nothing, however, coming at last luckily to see through and settle all to my mind, it did please me mightily, and so with my mind at rest to bed, and he with me and hard to sleep.

the Good Friday people
all on their knees

silent as if at
the first sight of sky

he will come like a howl
and unrot them

so they become one ache
no mind to sleep


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Friday 13 April 1666.

Hobby farmer

Up and to the office, where all the morning. At noon dined at home and so to my office again, and taking a turne in the garden my Lady Pen comes to me and takes me into her house, where I find her daughter and a pretty lady of her acquaintance, one Mrs. Lowder, sister, I suppose, of her servant Lowder’s, with whom I, notwithstanding all my resolution to follow business close this afternoon, did stay talking and playing the foole almost all the afternoon, and there saw two or three foolish sorry pictures of her doing, but very ridiculous compared to what my wife do. She grows mighty homely and looks old. Thence ashamed at myself for this losse of time, yet not able to leave it, I to the office, where my Lord Bruncker come; and he and I had a little fray, he being, I find, a very peevish man, if he be denied what he expects, and very simple in his argument in this business (about signing a warrant for paying Sir Thos. Allen 1000l. out of the groats); but we were pretty good friends before we parted, and so we broke up and I to the writing my letters by the post, and so home to supper and to bed.

all morning I turn
the garden up

standing in the rows
I look at myself

a simple argument for oats
before art broke me


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Thursday 12 April 1666.