So many have lived here, who loved
to love, to wake, dust, sweep the floor.
The moon’s in the well and can’t be seen,
the previous owners have disappeared,
taking nothing with them.
The ivy swells in yesterday’s sun,
the coffee stains and soot are staying put.
I fasten myself to mouldy dreams
and embrace the grime of others' souls,
that mix of lace and plans gone wrong.
Concierge of failure, I’ll buy the dump –
if it poisons me so be it, but never fear:
open the windows, put the sign on the lawn,
someone else will come in, sniff the air, begin again.
(via The Cat Flap, where you can read the original)
André Frénaud (1907-93) was born in France. In 1940 he joined the army and was captured, escaping from a German POW camp in 1942 to join the Resistance. House for Sale was written in captivity (scribbled on scraps of paper from cement bags), as were most of the poems in his first book, Les Rois Mages (1943), through the success of which he came into contact with the rising artists of the day, some of whom became collaborators on illustrated texts of his poems. His subjects were mainly everyday objects and refined spiritual and emotional reactions to small events in an ordered, conventional life.