Full Moon

holloway overhung with ancient trees n Cornwall
Sometimes a pearly
brightness outlines each 
dusty blade of the blinds, 
deep in the night, as though 
from a floodlight. Of course
it's only the moon, which 
cycles again from its first
slivered form to this  
fullness—even if you
remain asleep, it sieves
through darkness 
the way a feeling 
like happiness 
might touch
everything in its way;
the way a fever runs
its course and 
finally breaks.


holloway overhung with ancient trees n Cornwall

Knepp home with us, and I to bed, and rose about six, mightily pleased with last night’s mirth, and away by water to St. James’s, and there, with Mr. Wren, did correct his copy of my letter, which the Duke of York hath signed in my very words, without alteration of a syllable. And so pleased therewith, I to my Lord Brouncker, who I find within, but hath business, and so comes not to the Office to-day. And so I by water to the Office, where we sat all the morning; and, just as the Board rises, comes the Duke of York’s letter, which I knowing, and the Board not being full, and desiring rather to have the Duke of York deliver it himself to us, I suppressed it for this day, my heart beginning to falsify in this business, as being doubtful of the trouble it may give me by provoking them; but, however, I am resolved to go through it, and it is too late to help it now. At noon to dinner to Captain Cocke’s, where I met with Mr. Wren; my going being to tell him what I have done, which he likes, and to confer with Cocke about our Office; who tells me that he is confident the design of removing our Officers do hold, but that he is sure that I am safe enough. Which pleases me, though I do not much shew it to him, but as a thing indifferent. So away home, and there met at Sir Richard Ford’s with the Duke of York’s Commissioners about our Prizes, with whom we shall have some trouble before we make an end with them, and hence, staying a little with them, I with my wife, and W. Batelier, and Deb.; carried them to Bartholomew Fayre, where we saw the dancing of the ropes and nothing else, it being late, and so back home to supper and to bed, after having done at my office.

mirth and words alter
who I find within

my heart beginning to falsify
what I have done

like moving to a different home
and a hard bed

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Thursday 27 August 1668


holloway overhung with ancient trees n Cornwall
Under an arch of trees, 
a mild wind passes  
and you recall an earlier time
when you looked up and there seemed
an opening in the hills, the smallest cleft
where the light came and went. 
Holding it in your gaze, 
you remember too 
when once you climbed 
to the summit—
an easy hike then, not many house
plots yet, or fences beyond which
laundry dripped in the sun. A lone
cow grazing, a flock of goats.
Wild patches of marapait;
tender vines of sayote and tartaraok. 
Mechanics tinkered with dented
vehicles, their heads wreathed
in cigarette smoke. And at the top:
ruined ramparts that only the ghosts 
of priests or prisoners walked 
at sundown. Isn't this how every past
love fades into a flower or a leaf? 
Wind or no wind, so many
blossoms at the base of the tree.


holloway overhung with ancient trees n Cornwall

Up, and to the office, where all the morning almost, busy about business against the afternoon, and we met a little to sign two or three things at the Board of moment, and thence at noon home to dinner, and so away to White Hall by water. In my way to the Old Swan, finding a great many people gathered together in Cannon Street about a man that was working in the ruins, and the ground did sink under him, and he sunk in, and was forced to be dug out again, but without hurt. Thence to White Hall, and it is strange to say with what speed the people employed do pull down Paul’s steeple, and with what ease: it is said that it, and the choir are to be taken down this year, and another church begun in the room thereof, the next. At White Hall we met at the Treasury chamber, and there before the Lords did debate our draft of the victualling contract with the several bidders for it, which were Sir D. Gawden, Mr. Child and his fellows, and Mr. Dorrington and his, a poor variety in a business of this value. There till after candle-lighting, and so home by coach with Sir D. Gawden, who, by the way, tells me how the City do go on in several things towards the building of the public places, which I am glad to hear; and gives hope that in a few years it will be a glorious place; but we met with several stops and new troubles in the way in the streets, so as makes it bad to travel in the dark now through the City. So I to Mr. Batelier’s by appointment, where I find my wife, and Deb., and Mercer; Mrs. Pierce and her husband, son, and daughter; and Knepp and Harris, and W. Batelier, and his sister Mary, and cozen Gumbleton, a good-humoured, fat young gentleman, son to the jeweller, that dances well; and here danced all night long, with a noble supper; and about two in the morning the table spread again for a noble breakfast beyond all moderation, that put me out of countenance, so much and so good. Mrs. Pierce and her people went home betimes, she being big with child; but Knepp and the rest staid till almost three in the morning, and then broke up.

the little moment
I was dug out of

is a poor candle with which
to travel in the dark

through the city where we danced
beyond all moderation

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Wednesday 26 August 1668


holloway overhung with ancient trees n Cornwall

Up, and by water to St. James’s, and there, with Mr. Wren, did discourse about my great letter, which the Duke of York hath given him: and he hath set it to be transcribed by Billings, his man, whom, as he tells me, he can most confide in for secresy, and is much pleased with it, and earnest to have it be; and he and I are like to be much together in the considering how to reform the Office, and that by the Duke of York’s command. Thence I, mightily pleased with this success, away to the Office, where all the morning, my head full of this business. And it is pretty how Lord Brouncker this day did tell me how he hears that a design is on foot to remove us out of the Office: and proposes that we two do agree to draw up a form of a new constitution of the Office, there to provide remedies for the evils we are now under, so that we may be beforehand with the world, which I agreed to, saying nothing of my design; and, the truth is, he is the best man of them all, and I would be glad, next myself, to save him; for, as he deserves best, so I doubt he needs his place most. So home to dinner at noon, and all the afternoon busy at the office till night, and then with my mind full of business now in my head, I to supper and to bed.

the wren can nest
like a head full of evil
now saying nothing
to save his place

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Tuesday 25 August 1668


holloway overhung with ancient trees n Cornwall
as in not only the aftermath but some aftertime.
Meaning what we survive, or what survives us.
The mail, finally delivered beyond the end of the world.
Little squares of sticky-backed neon paper, untouched.
The electric car whispering your driving score.
The as yet unimagined successors of the manila envelope,
the horse-drawn carriage, the pneumatic tube, 
end-to-end encrypted email.
Are we there yet, asks the speaking donkey.
Evidently not, if animation extends only to a 3D screen.
Meaning after the statues have come down
there are still dark, haunted histories.
Meaning we are in the throat of a moment
that hasn't completely spat us out yet.
We're working as hard as we can.
We can be as rust-colored fishbones,
as calcium stones, a mouthful of marbles
refusing to translate their brilliance.

Wake and break

holloway overhung with ancient trees n Cornwall

Up, and to the office, where all the morning upon considerations on the Victualler’s contract, and then home to dinner, where my wife is upon hanging the long chamber where the girl lies, with the sad stuff that was in the best chamber, in order to the hanging that with tapestry. So to dinner, and then to the office again, where all the afternoon till night, we met to discourse upon the alterations which are propounded to be made in the draft of the victualler’s contract which we did lately make, and then we being up comes Mr. Child, Papillion and Littleton, his partners, to discourse upon the matter with me, which I did, and spent all the evening with them at the office, and so, they being gone, I to supper and talk with my wife, and so to bed.

up and to my lies
the sad stuff of being

up and to discourse
the matter with being gone

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Monday 24 August 1668


holloway overhung with ancient trees n Cornwall
Nothing lasts, nothing keeps 
its original form. In stories, a room
full of wheat will make you want
to think of gold filaments, wires 
curved cunningly into miniature 
trellises. A body covered with leaves 
could have been a windfall that floated 
out of the open sky. Doesn't it look
familiar ? Across a quilt there are
thousands of stitches. How can each 
one of them, that tiny, anchor the weight 
of so many nights of sleep?


holloway overhung with ancient trees n Cornwall

(Lord’s day). Up betimes, my head busy in my great letter, and I did first hang up my new map of Paris in my green room, and changed others in other places. Then to Captain Cocke’s, thinking to have talked more of what he told me yesterday, but he was not within. So back to church, and heard a good sermon of Mr. Gifford’s at our church, upon “Seek ye first the kingdom of Heaven and its righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” A very excellent and persuasive, good and moral sermon. Shewed, like a wise man, that righteousness is a surer moral way of being rich, than sin and villainy. Then home to dinner, where Mr. Pelling, who brought us a hare, which we had at dinner, and W. Howe. After dinner to the Office, Mr. Gibson and I, to examine my letter to the Duke of York, which, to my great joy, I did very well by my paper tube, without pain to my eyes. And I do mightily like what I have therein done; and did, according to the Duke of York’s order, make haste to St. James’s, and about four o’clock got thither: and there the Duke of York was ready, to expect me, and did hear it all over with extraordinary content; and did give me many and hearty thanks, and in words the most expressive tell me his sense of my good endeavours, and that he would have a care of me on all occasions; and did, with much inwardness, tell me what was doing, suitable almost to what Captain Cocke tells me, of designs to make alterations in the Navy; and is most open to me in them, and with utmost confidence desires my further advice on all occasions: and he resolves to have my letter transcribed, and sent forthwith to the Office. So, with as much satisfaction as I could possibly, or did hope for, and obligation on the Duke of York’s side professed to me, I away into the Park, and there met Mr. Pierce and his wife, and sister and brother, and a little boy, and with them to Mulberry Garden, and spent 18s. on them, and there left them, she being again with child, and by it, the least pretty that ever I saw her. And so I away, and got a coach, and home, and there with my wife and W. Hewer, talking all the evening, my mind running on the business of the Office, to see what more I can do to the rendering myself acceptable and useful to all and to the King. We to supper, and to bed.

in my new map
in green ink

the kingdom of heaven
like a paper heart

words and signs
for park and garden

on the way home
to supper

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Sunday 23 August 1668