Wednesday, February 25, 2009

An empty house (Une maison vide)

Encouraged by my friend LC’s fine example, I will be posting some of my poetry here. I wrote this just after arriving at Rue Ferlus. As you can see from tonight’s picture, the worn statues of Mary are currently on the mantle piece. And the rooms are no longer empty, in fact the one from which I write is quite a jumble at the moment, but soon to be sorted!

Start with an empty house

Open the windows and doors to air
and light. Sit in the small courtyard.
Introduce yourself to the plants.
Feed them. Water the well,
adorn it with worn statues of Mary.
Create a comfortable burrow of a bed.
Fall asleep to the click of boule balls
in the soft dirt under pollarded plane trees.

Wake to a restless summer wind. Tie the shutters.
Wash the grime from the Escher-tiled floor.
Buy olives of pincholine green at the market,
a chalky pyramid of goat cheese, a wheel
of bread with wood fire-blackened crust.
Eat lunch on the stone ramparts of the village,
your basket perched on a map of the towns
spread like a sunflower strewn carpet below.

Leave for the lake when the church bells strike noon
to swim in that pine-rimmed basin -- rain held high
before dashing down stone channels to the Canal.
Spend the late afternoon at the brocante in Revel.
Make the furniture you buy first for the house
a simple writing desk and oak captain’s chair.
Invite your neighbor in for a glass of wine.
Give her the new chair. Exercise your rusty French.

Muse over wall colors in the day, by the light of night.
When you go away, leave a good book behind
so the characters can fill the house with laughter,
a welcome when you open the windows and doors.


More about the market in Revel after Saturday. You’re going to love its abundance.

Bonne nuit, dormez bien et ne pas rêver de cornichons au vinaigre

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