first transcendent ramble, perhaps

john ennis's picture

in trying to figure how the theme of the upcoming burke conference at villanova plays out--the theme of transcendence as burke wielded the de-termination (stole that from burke's rhetoric)--i am thinking that burke's is a wordplay that appropriates the evocative in order to show that, really, nothing could be more natural. it would appear that transcendence in this burkean application / appropriation is as ubiquitous/ universal as rhetoric or persuasion or identification. to be alive is to be "rhetorically" adapted to the life forces and discourses everywhere around and within. nothing could be more natural. transcendence, persuasion, mystification, identification, theology, spirit are all simultaneously everywhere, even if we remain blissfully ignorant of the sublimated same. they are the sound waves no one hears in the forest of the proverbial fallen tree, the physics behind the starlit night. a tree narrative.

fallen trees, tree of the fall, burke's play on eden as composition and division (de-composition?). Loyalty, Rebellion (be-trayal, dis-loyalty?) opposites proven in the rhetorical field of play when that field is a straight-forward one that abides by a kind of rhetorical Marquess of Queensberry rule:

"TREES"
I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.

A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the sweet earth's flowing breast;

A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

A tree that may in summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;

Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.

Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.

--Joyce Kilmer.

the nature of things, this is the transcendent notion, the re-focus of an eye, as bishop says in "the fish" — "It was more like the tipping of an object toward the light." how does one talk about such things? perhaps i'll just listen at the conference. perhaps instead of acting "as if" i'll simply come "as is," curious, more interested than interesting. perhaps.

WHEN I heard the learn’d astronomer;
When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns before me;
When I was shown the charts and the diagrams, to add, divide, and measure them;
When I, sitting, heard the astronomer, where he lectured with much applause in the lecture-room,
How soon, unaccountable, I became tired and sick; 5
Till rising and gliding out, I wander’d off by myself,
In the mystical moist night-air, and from time to time,
Look’d up in perfect silence at the stars.
--ww

perhaps receiving is the transcendent thing, letting be, tipping things toward the light and watching, resting. perhaps.