A night with George Steiner and Gaelle Boissonnard

A night with George Steiner and Gaelle Boissonnard—now that’s a curious ménage! Late caffeine kept me up until 6:30 this morning and I spent the night with these two.


gaelle boissonnard passerelles poissons fish michele roohani

Steiner took me from an old Transfuge to wikiquotes and Cornel West; there goes  3 hours pf precious sleep and when my mind was too tired to absorb anything more, Boissonnard’s images were there to help with their delicate originality.


gaelle boissonnard passerelles poissons fish michele roohani hat

“There is something terribly wrong with a culture inebriated by noise and gregariousness.” Steiner


gaelle boissonnard passerelles blue michele roohani

Boissonnard is everything our “noisy” culture isn’t—serene, quiet, tranquil…

She has started working with a new company; I hope this move makes her work more available to international markets. Just found out that my friends in Paris, La Banque de l’Image, mention her in their company’s blog!


Gaelle Boissonaard michele roohani in the wind

I love this quote of Steiner: “the most important tribute any human being can pay to a poem or a piece of prose he or she really loves is to learn it by heart. Not by brain, by heart; the expression is vital.” This is what I have learned by heart long ago:

“Le tout est de tout dire, et je manque de mots
Et je manque de temps, et je manque d’audace
Je rêve et je dévide au hasard mes images
J’ai mal vécu, et mal appris à parler clair.” Eluard

gaelle boissonnard passerelles bird michele roohani

دلم گرفته است

دلم گرفته است

به ايوان مي روم و انگشتانم را

بر پوست كشيده شب مي كشم

چراغهاي رابطه تاريكند

چراغهاي رابطه تاريكند

كسي مرا به آفتاب

معرفي نخواهد كرد

كسي مرا به ميهماني گنجشكها نخواهد برد

پرواز را به خاطر بسپار

پرنده مردني است

I feel sad,

I feel blue.

I go outside and rub my fingers

on the sleek shell of the night.

“I see  that lights of contact are blocked,

All lights of contact are blocked.”

“Nobody will introduce me to the sun,

Nobody will take me to the gathering of doves.”

Keep the flight in mind,

The bird may die.

Forugh Farrokhzad

This post is in the loving memory of the 3 sisters my friend, Marie, has lost in the past few years (the last one two days ago)—all young, all from heart problems…

To see Boissonnard’s blog  go here.

8 thoughts on “A night with George Steiner and Gaelle Boissonnard

  1. Long awaited darkness falls
    Casting shadows on the walls
    In the twilight hour I am alone
    Sitting near the fireplace, dying embers warm my face
    In this peaceful solitude
    All the outside world subdued
    Everything comes back to me again
    In the gloom
    Like an angel passing through my room

    Half awake and half in dreams
    Seeing long forgotten scenes
    So the present runs into the past
    Now and then become entwined, playing games within my mind
    Like the embers as they die
    Love was one prolonged good-bye
    And it all comes back to me tonight
    In the gloom
    Like an angel passing through my room

    I close my eyes
    And my twilight images go by
    All too soon
    Like an angel passing through my room

  2. Si soulageant le Blog aujourd’hui. Effectivement, le monde a besoin d’une silence profonde….

  3. Beautiful Post,Thoughts & Poem by Marie..
    The highest things are beyond words.

    We began before words, we will end beyond them.

    – Ben Okri

  4. بنی آدم اعضای یک پیکرند
    که در آفرينش ز یک گوهرند
    چو عضوى به درد آورد روزگار
    دگر عضوها را نماند قرار
    تو کز محنت دیگران بی غمی
    نشاید که نامت نهند آدمی

    Human beings are members of a whole,
    In creation of one essence and soul.
    If one member is afflicted with pain,
    Other members uneasy will remain.
    If you have no sympathy for human pain,
    The name of human you cannot retain.
    Dr. Iraj Bashiri of the University of Minnesota, in his translation of the opening words of Sa’adi’s ‎Gulestan, offers the following translation:‎

    Of One Essence is the Human Race,
    Thusly has Creation put the Base.
    One Limb impacted is sufficient,
    For all Others to feel the Mace.
    The Unconcern’d with Others’ Plight,
    Are but Brutes with Human Face.

    I long for a kind sentiment from the Friend
    I’ve sinned and hope for Her pardon in the end.
    I know She will overlook my crimes, though she is
    Beautiful-faced, on her angelic nature I can depend.
    I cried such that whomever passed me by
    Was in awe of the stream of my tears descend.
    Naught is that mouth there, of it I see no sign
    And there is that fair hair, yet knowing transcends.
    I see her image in my mind and can’t wash out
    In spite of all the tears that my eyes spend.
    With no talk of your hair, my heart is just dead.
    With your enchanting hair, which talk can I defend?
    A life time has passed since I smelled your hair
    That aroma, in the nose of my heart has since remained.
    Hafiz your perturbed state is bad, yet
    Perturbation over Beloved’s hair is a good trend

  5. Nocturnal
    Translation: Maryam Dilmaghani, by Ahmad Shamlou
    The river is
    the recurring anthem of dawn
    performed at the proximity
    of the lake of night.
    And day begins
    with the last breath of the lingering dark.
    And at present the dawn
    that is taking slowly away
    the blaze of my torch,
    that is tenderly awakening
    the colourful birds on the carpet’s garden,
    seems like a sun
    rising with might in my blood
    for the sake of reconciliation.
    It is
    the shrine of that eternal faith
    in which divinity, devotee, prayer and temple
    have the same facet:
    Creature worships the creator
    and the creator the creature.
    All the springs and the leaves
    lay upon your fingers,
    This vast sky
    is burning in the silver shine of your palm.
    And it is how
    are refreshed in rain and light.
    Recite your most beautiful verse,
    Deliver the veiled torment of your soul
    And do not fear
    That they say it is a vain tale.
    Because it is not a vain tale
    For love is not a futile incident.
    And if it takes
    The sun not to rise tomorrow
    Let it be this way,
    For love
    is itself the next day,
    is itself forever.
    I yield to you
    the greatest love of this world
    saved from the cruel course of epic wars and cry
    For nothing has ever meant to me
    as profoundly as you,
    For your heart
    is like a butterfly
    delicate, light, tender.
    My beloved,
    Proud of your feminine soul,
    Serene, tolerant, caring
    Your triumph is the fruit of your truth:
    Defeated deluge, storm and snow
    and the fiery sun
    with your patience.
    Now stand
    till your pride ripe.
    My beloved
    My woman
    You carry the feast of sun
    in the flavour of your robes.
    The triumph of love
    is yours!
    There is no instance
    nor instant
    for you:
    -a butterfly in flight
    a river in passage-
    Nothing can return
    And life reaches the end:
    The butterfly sat on a rose
    And the river joined the sea.

  6. hi,

    i’ve been trying to get in contact with Gaelle because I want to tattoo one of the artworks on my back and I wanted to see i it was okay… do you have any contact information? I sent an email to an email address I found on the facebook site but i have not heard back.

  7. salam khanoume roohani
    vaghean karatoon tahsinbarangize
    man ba didane yek ask ke chand rooze pish az karatoon dide boodam ke yek gole rose miuone fenjoone chay bood alaghmand shodam bebinam in karo che kasi anjam dade va besyar khoshhal shodam ke shoma irani hastid
    movafagh bashid
    arezoomande arezoohaye shoma Milad.M

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