Sam Pepys and me

(Lord’s day). In the morning my father and I walked in the garden and read the will; where, though he gives me nothing at present till my father’s death, or at least very little, yet I am glad to see that he hath done so well for us, all, and well to the rest of his kindred. After that done, we went about getting things, as ribbands and gloves, ready for the burial. Which in the afternoon was done; where, it being Sunday, all people far and near come in; and in the greatest disorder that ever I saw, we made shift to serve them what we had of wine and other things; and then to carry him to the church, where Mr. Taylor buried him, and Mr. Turners preached a funerall sermon, where he spoke not particularly of him anything, but that he was one so well known for his honesty, that it spoke for itself above all that he could say for it. And so made a very good sermon.
Home with some of the company who supped there, and things being quiet, at night to bed.

I and thou
at the death of love
one Sunday

serve what wine
we know could say
something quiet

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Sunday 7 July 1661.


river in November light between bare woods and mountain

Waked this morning with news, brought me by a messenger on purpose, that my uncle Robert is dead, and died yesterday; so I rose sorry in some respect, glad in my expectations in another respect. So I made myself ready, went and told my uncle Wight, my Lady, and some others thereof, and bought me a pair of boots in St. Martin’s, and got myself ready, and then to the Post House and set out about eleven and twelve o’clock, taking the messenger with me that came to me, and so we rode and got well by nine o’clock to Brampton, where I found my father well. My uncle’s corps in a coffin standing upon joynt-stools in the chimney in the hall; but it begun to smell, and so I caused it to be set forth in the yard all night, and watched by two men. My aunt I found in bed in a most nasty ugly pickle, made me sick to see it. My father and I lay together tonight, I greedy to see the will, but did not ask to see it till to-morrow.

I died in my boots
me and my corpse

in a coffin watched by two men
greedy to see tomorrow

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Saturday 6 July 1661.


Sam Pepys and me

At home, and in the afternoon to the office, and that being done all went to Sir W. Batten’s and there had a venison pasty, and were very merry. At night home and to bed.

in the noon of a hat
we had a past

we err at night

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Friday 5 July 1661.

Public Servant

This entry is part 33 of 37 in the series Une Semaine de Bonté


Page 33 of Max Ernst’s Une Semaine de Bonté

As if all the night’s eyes had flown open at once and were trained on me—and who can say they aren’t? Given that I am suddenly unable to move, some paranoia may be justified. But those dull throbs must be my beloved’s heartbeat. That’s the cat purring at our feet. It’s all just a nightmare, not some untimely end for the head of a regime. I expect to wake up at any moment.


Sam Pepys and me

At home all the morning; in the afternoon I went to the Theatre, and there I saw “Claracilla” (the first time I ever saw it), well acted. But strange to see this house, that used to be so thronged, now empty since the Opera begun; and so will continue for a while, I believe. Called at my father’s, and there I heard that my uncle Robert continues to have his fits of stupefaction every day for 10 or 12 hours together.
From thence to the Exchange at night, and then went with my uncle Wight to the Mitre and were merry, but he takes it very ill that my father would go out of town to Brampton on this occasion and would not tell him of it, which I endeavoured to remove but could not.
Here Mr. Batersby the apothecary was, who told me that if my uncle had the emerods (which I think he had) and that now they are stopped, he will lay his life that bleeding behind by leeches will cure him, but I am resolved not to meddle in it.
Home and to bed.

empty since the opera
a tin ear of stupefaction

I endeavor to move but
who told me that bleeding will cure

I am resolved
to meddle

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Thursday 4 July 1661.

To end all wars

Sam Pepys and me

To Westminster to Mr. Edward Montagu about business of my Lord’s, and so to the Wardrobe, and there dined with my Lady, who is in some mourning for her brother, Mr. Saml. Crew, who died yesterday of the spotted fever. So home through Duck Lane to inquire for some Spanish books, but found none that pleased me. So to the office, and that being done to Sir W. Batten’s with the Comptroller, where we sat late talking and disputing with Mr. Mills the parson of our parish. This day my Lady Batten and my wife were at the burial of a daughter of Sir John Lawson’s, and had rings for themselves and their husbands. Home and to bed.

the war died of fever
a Spanish one

we sat late disputing
at the burial

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Wednesday 3 July 1661.


This entry is part 32 of 37 in the series Une Semaine de Bonté


Page 32 of Max Ernst’s Une Semaine de Bonté

Perhaps I have meditation
all wrong, and it isn’t about
finding the off switch. The way

trees swaying in the wind
stay so firmly seated makes me
think I too need to delegate

all decision-making to mushrooms.
Collecting sunlight could be
my whole vocation; never mind

the masked vigilantes running riot
in my imagination. Not every trip
unfolds according to plan. But

I have acquired an apparatus
dearer to me than any pet
with which to concentrate the mind.

So sleek a device—plastic married
to metal. If only I could remember
how to turn it on.

World stage

Sam Pepys and me

To Westminster Hall and there walked up and down, it being Term time. Spoke with several, among others my cozen Roger Pepys, who was going up to the Parliament House, and inquired whether I had heard from my father since he went to Brampton, which I had done yesterday, who writes that my uncle is by fits stupid, and like a man that is drunk, and sometimes speechless.
Home, and after my singing master had done, took coach and went to Sir William Davenant’s Opera; this being the fourth day that it hath begun, and the first that I have seen it. To-day was acted the second part of “The Siege of Rhodes.” We staid a very great while for the King and the Queen of Bohemia. And by the breaking of a board over our heads, we had a great deal of dust fell into the ladies’ necks and the men’s hair, which made good sport. The King being come, the scene opened; which indeed is very fine and magnificent, and well acted, all but the Eunuch, who was so much out that he was hissed off the stage.
Home and wrote letters to my Lord at sea, and so to bed.

who writes like a speechless
singing master

day breaking
over our heads

we become
the scene we act

all but the hiss
of the sea

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Tuesday 2 July 1661.

Poetry Blog Digest 2024, Week 26

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. You can also browse the blog digest archive at Via Negativa or, if you’d like it in your inbox, subscribe on Substack (where the posts might be truncated by some email providers).

This week: an orchestra of inflammation, a library of lost chapbooks, words written in eyeliner on a band aid wrapper, and a complicated kind of joy… among many other things. Enjoy!

Continue reading “Poetry Blog Digest 2024, Week 26”


Sam Pepys and me

This morning I went up and down into the city, to buy several things, as I have lately done, for my house. Among other things, a fair chest of drawers for my own chamber, and an Indian gown for myself. The first cost me 33s., the other 34s. Home and dined there, and Theodore Goodgroome, my singing master, with me, and then to our singing. After that to the office, and then home.

into thin air
my own India

my first other ore
singing as I sing

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Monday 1 July 1661.