Street sweeper in Fribourg, Michel Simonet is also a poet of a life of chosen and happy simplicity. He paints a beautiful portrait of existence.
Writing on the ground is rarely perceived as a compliment, yet the writer Michel Simonet sublimates this expression. This is because our poet is also a road worker, as we say in Fribourg: a street sweeper and happy to be one.
His pen, full of mischief and humanity, was already expressed in a first collection "La Rose et le Balai" published four years ago. The rose is the one that adorns his cart as he calls it. It is in fact his street surveyor's cart that cleans up our waste with wisdom, modesty and also a legitimate pride: he makes a clean sweep of our incivilities, without judgment or morality.
Michel Simonet chose this profession of humility and fresh air, preferring to air his mind rather than spend eight hours confined in an accountant's office, where he used to work.
Through this new collection, he recounts these atypical life choices, such as having no career or financial ambitions, no appetite for high position or the enviable status that comes with it. Because living bent over but not having to bend over backwards suits him very well. It doesn't stop him from looking up at the city and the changes in society, nor from dreaming or singing to drown out the noise of the cars, or from collecting thoughts and images that he writes down for later. For if his broom does the sorting, he writes on the other hand "on the spot" as he says with this humor that sprinkles all these texts.
These are texts that resemble him, that do not claim to do anything other than follow a path of simplicity and happy and true sobriety, especially since he is the father of seven children, now adults. Here he has not skimped, he who sweeps up more often than not. His wife and he were often teased about this high number: "There was nothing on TV? You only had the national channels"? They bought the TV after the third child, so it was not a question of programs.
As children, his children proudly announced "My daddy he sweeps near the station! "
For the birth of the sixth, his daughter, then a medical student, was able to warn him quickly because he was sweeping near the hospital. Practical. In adolescence, it was less simple: "with the social mix carried upwards what ideal to propose when one is a father opposed to any advancement other than that of his cart? "he writes. He answers: "The example of a disinterested honesty, of a human humility, of a peaceful serenity".
A talent for life, therefore, to which is added that of a writer who, without ever claiming it, transforms our view of the family and of these invisible workers of our cities.
His interest in human diversity, his quiet assurance, his gift for highlighting the small pleasures of life and his unexpected poetry make the social contempt that takes such a toll all the more indecent. He takes the time to take an interest in the people who pay him taxes and in exchange "he touches them a word, operating a transfer of funds that restores the social balance. "He writes.
Michel Simonet has no regrets, or only one, and that is that with the selective sorting, he can no longer, as in the past, recover the returnable bottles in the garbage cans, which allowed him to buy a pleiade from time to time.
Michel is a role model. An example for all those who live under the constraints of false social expectations. Sweeping away other people's garbage does not under any circumstances mean being a second-class person who has achieved nothing in life. It simply means that he has chosen a job that he likes to do and enjoys doing. In this way, he also gives strength to other people who find themselves in the same situation and sends a signal to be proud of the professions that you practice, even if they are not so well respected in society. People of the global society like Michel, strengthen not only the economy sustainably, but also their environment of people mentally. This and more progress is needed and must be spread in order to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.