Art is a window to The Infinite, and opening to the goddess, a portal through which you and I, with the help of the artist, may discover depths and heights of our soul undreamed of by the vulgar world. Art is the eye of the spirit, through which the sublime can reach down to us, and we up to it, and be transformed, transfigured in the process.
Perhaps everything lies in knowing what words to speak, what actions to perform, and in what order and rhythm; or else someone's gaze, answer, gesture is enough; it is enough for someone to do something for the sheer pleasure of doing it, and for his pleasure to become the pleasure of others: at that moment, all spaces change, all heights, distances; the city is transfigured, becomes crystalline, transparent as a dragonfly.
Of course, of course. Mr. Buzzby, did it ever occur to you that a god may live, figuratively, a dog's life?' 'Eh?' 'Gods are transfigured, you know. They go up in smoke, as it were. In smoke and flame. They become pure flame, pure spirit, creatures with no visible body.' ("A Visitor From Egypt")
Frank Belknap Long
Love cannot accept what it is. Everywhere on earth it cries out against kindness, compassion, intelligence, everything that leads to compromise. Love demands the impossible, the absolute, the sky on fire, inexhaustible springtime, life after death, and death itself transfigured into eternal life.
After the sorts of winters we have had to endure recently, the spring does seem miraculous, because it has become gradually harder and harder to believe that it is actually going to happen. Every February since 1940 I have found myself thinking that this time winter is going to be permanent. But Persephone, like the toads, always rises from the dead at about the same moment. Suddenly, towards the end of March, the miracle happens and the decaying slum in which I live is transfigured.
Lowe has broken from the Christianity of his parents, a faith that now seems hopelessly out of date. The meek shall no longer inherit the earth; the go-getters will get it and everything that goes with it. The Christ who went among the poor, the sick, the downtrodden, among lepers and prostitutes, really had no marketing savvy. He has been transfigured into a latter-day entrepreneur, the greatest superstar sales person of all time, who built a multinational outfit from scratch.
What is commonly honored with the name of Friendship is no very profound or powerful instinct. Men do not, after all, love their Friends greatly. I do not often see the farmers made seers and wise to the verge of insanity by their Friendship for one another. They are not often transfigured and translated by love in each other's presence. I do not observe them purified, refined, and elevated by the love of a man.
Henry David Thoreau
On its outer surface time is vulnerable to transience. Regardless of its sadness or beauty, each day empties and vanishes. In its deeper heart, time is transfiguration. Time minds possibility and makes sure that nothing is lost or forgotten. That which seems to pass away on the surface of time is in fact transfigured and housed in the tabernacle of memory.
A writer is dreamed and transfigured into being by spells, wishes, goldfish, silhouettes of trees, boxes of fairy tales dropped in the mud, uncles' and cousins' books, tablets and capsules and powders... and then one day you find yourself leaning here, writing on that round glass table salvaged from the Park View Pharmacy-writing this, an impossibility, a summary of who you came to be where you are now, and where, God knows, is that?
A writer is dreamed and transfigured into being by spells, wishes, goldfish, silhouettes of trees, boxes of fairy tales dropped in the mud, uncles' and cousins' books, tablets and capsules and powders...and then one day you find yourself leaning here, writing on that round glass table salvaged from the Park View Pharmacy--writing this, an impossibility, a summary of who you came to be where you are now, and where, God knows, is that?
The theme of the book is simple: a man is dying: you feel him sinking throughout the book; his thought and his memories pervade the whole with greater or lesser distinction (like the swell and fall of uneven breathing), now rolling up this image, now that, letting it ride in the wind, or even tossing it out on the shore, where it seems to move and live for a minute on its own and presently is drawn back again by grey seas where it sinks or is strangely transfigured.
God was on the move; God is on the move; and God will always be on the move. Those who walk with God and listen to God are also on the move. Reading the Bible so we can live it out today means being on the move""always. Anyone who stops and wants to turn a particular moment into a monument, as the disciples did when Jesus was transfigured before them, will soon be wondering where God has gone.
Fiction is one of the few experiences where loneliness can be both confronted and relieved. Drugs, movies where stuff blows up, loud parties - all these chase away loneliness by making me forget my name's Dave and I live in a one-by-one box of bone no other party can penetrate or know. Fiction, poetry, music, really deep serious sex, and, in various ways, religion - these are the places (for me) where loneliness is countenanced, stared down, transfigured, treated.
David Foster Wallace
I saw thee in a vision of the night Transfigured; for it seemed that on thy brows The heavens did rest with all their stars, like boughs Laden with blossoms; round thy feet the bright Green waves, like grass, ran rippling, strewn with white Star-fragments of rent petals: wasted vows, And ruined prayers I thought them, such as house In hearts that love and are not loved aright.
Our reverence for the nobility of manhood will not be lessened by the knowledge that man is in substance and in structure, one with the brutes; for he alone possesses the marvellous endowment of intelligible and rational speech whereby he has slowly accumulated and organized the experience which is almost wholly lost with the cessation of individual life in other animals; so that he now stands raised above it as on a mountain-top, far above the level of his humble fellows, and transfigured from his grosser nature by reflecting, here and there, a ray from the infinite source of truth.
The house became full of love. Aureliano expressed it in poetry that had no beginning and no end. He would write it on the harsh pieces of parchment that Melquiades gave him, on the bathroom walls, on the skin of his arms, and in all of it Remedios would appear transfigured: Remedios in the soporific air of two in the afternoon, Remedios in the soft breath of the roses, Remedios in the water-clock secrets of the moths, Remedios in the steaming morning bread, Remedios everywhere and Remedios forever.
Gabriel Garcia Marquez
According to Maslow, I was stuck on the second level of the pyramid, unable to feel secure in my health and therefore unable to reach for love and respect and art and whatever else, which is, utter horseshit: The urge to make art or contemplate philosophy does not go away when you are sick. Those urges just become transfigured by illness. Maslow's pyramid seemed to imply I was less human than other people, and most people seemed to agree with him.
By employing classical concepts of idealized beauty and changes in perspective, icons speak to us of reality transformed and transfigured, both in and through God's presence. They speak of transcendence and mystery. As iconographers, we point to a reality that we have never seen with our own eyes. In fact, all our images of God, heaven, the angels, and the saints, whether in poetry, prose, ritual, music, or icons, represent our limited attempts to speak of the unspeakable.
By becoming clearly contemplative in a matter of weeks, my prayer had been given a particular and novel cast; and this was matched by the distinctness in the reprecussions my daily sessions of exercises were having on my everyday life, as well as on the many different occupations which a monk is vowed to carry out. The genuine sense of euphoria that followed the exercises persisted in me and transfigured my day. During the early months I had to face up to the sort of difficulties which put one's nerves to the test, and which would certainly have put me on my back before. As it was, everything went off so smoothly and I took it all so well that I trained everyone under my charge to develop the attitude of 'accepting rather than undergoing.
Without thinking, I knelt in the grass, like someone meaning to pray. When I tried to stand again, I couldn't move, my legs were utterly rigid. Does grief change you like that? Through the birches, I could see the pond. The sun was cutting small white holes in the water. I got up finally; I walked down to the pond. I stood there, brushing the grass from my skirt, watching myself, like a girl after her first lover turning slowly at the bathroom mirror, naked, looking for a sign. But nakedness in women is always a pose. I was not transfigured. I would never be free.
The younger and healthier a woman is and the more her new and glossy body seems destined for eternal freshness, the less useful is artifice; but the carnal weakness of this prey that man takes and its ominous deterioration always have to be hidden from him...In any case, the more traits and proportions of a woman seem contrived, the more she delighted the heart of man because she seemed to escape the metamorphosis of natural things. The result is this strange paradox that by desiring to grasp nature, but transfigured, in woman, man destines her to artifice.
Simone de Beauvoir
The younger and healthier a woman is and the more her new and glossy body seems destined for eternal freshness, the less useful is artifice; but the carnal weakness of this prey that man takes and its ominous deterioration always have to be hidden from him... In any case, the more traits and proportions of a woman seem contrived, the more she delighted the heart of man because she seemed to escape the metamorphosis of natural things. The result is this strange paradox that by desiring to grasp nature, but transfigured, in woman, man destines her to artifice.
Simone de Beauvoir
The nineteenth was the first century of human sympathy, - the age when half wonderingly we began to descry in others that transfigured spark of divinity which we call Myself; when clodhoppers and peasants, and tramps and thieves, and millionaires and - sometimes - Negroes, became throbbing souls whose warm pulsing life touched us so nearly that we half gasped with surprise, crying, "Thou too! Hast Thou seen Sorrow and the dull waters of Hopelessness? Hast Thou known Life?
W.E.B. Du Bois
In his (Christ's) surrender on the cross all the pain and agony of mankind was concentrated at a single point, and passed through from death to immortality, There is no pain of any creature from the beginning to the end of time which was not 'known' at this point and thus transmuted. To know all things in the Word is thus to know all the suffering of the world transfigured by the resurrection, somehow reconciled and atoned in eternal life. It was God's purpose which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things on heaven and things on earth'.
In a split second of eternity, everything is changed, transfigured. A few bars of music, rising from an unfamiliar place, a touch of perfection in the flow of human dealings--I lean my head slowly to one side, reflect on the camellia on the moss on the temple, reflect on a cup of tea, while outside the wind is rustling foliage, the forward rush of life is crystalized in a brilliant jewel of a moment that knows neither projects nor future, human destiny is rescued from the pale succession of days, glows with light at last and, surpassing time, warms my tranquil heart.
On the one hand, it is in and through creative minds that the community fulfils itself at its best and reaches its highest forms; and on the other, it is from them that the community recovers the social substance with which it had nourished them, transfigured by their creative alchemy into a still higher social substance. The creative evolution of his community and his own creative evolution must always be the two earnest purposes of the individual. Its own creative evolution and that of the individuals in its midst must always be the two earnest purposes of the community.
Salvador de Madariaga
The white saucer like some full moon descends At last from the clouds of the table above; She sighs and dreams and thrills and glows, Transfigured with love. She nestles over the shining rim, Buries her chin in the creamy sea; Her tail hangs loose; each drowsy paw Is doubled under each bending knee. A long, dim ecstasy holds her life; Her world is an infinite shapeless white, Till her tongue has curled the last holy drop, Then she sinks back into the night, Draws and dips her body to heap Her sleepy nerves in the great arm-chair, Lies defeated and buried deep Three or four hours unconscious there.
The glance of women resembles certain combinations of wheels, which are tranquil in appearance yet formidable. You pass close to them every day, peaceably and with impunity, and without a suspicion of anything. A moment arrives when you forget that the thing is there. You go and come, dream, speak, laugh. All at once you feel yourself clutched; all is over. The wheels hold you fast, the glance has ensnared you. It has caught you, no matter where or how, by some portion of your thought which is fluttering loose, by some distraction which had attacked you. You are lost. The whole of you passes into it. A chain of mysterious forces takes possession of you. You struggle in vain; no more human succor is possible. You go on falling from gearing to gearing, from agony to agony, from torture to torture, you, your mind, your fortune, your future, your soul; and, according to whether you are in the power of a wicked creature, or of a noble heart, you will not escape from this terrifying machine otherwise than disfigured with shame, or transfigured by passion.
Relegated as he was to a corner and as though sheltered behind the billiard table, the soldiers, their eyes fixed upon Enjolras, had not even noticed Grantaire, and the sergeant was preparing to repeat the order: 'Take aim!' when suddenly they heard a powerful voice cry out beside them, 'Vive la Republique! Count me in.' Grantaire was on his feet. The immense glare of the whole combat he had missed and in which he had not been, appeared in the flashing eyes of the transfigured drunkard. He repeated, 'Vive la Republique!' crossed the room firmly, and took his place in front of the muskets beside Enjolras. 'Two at one shot, ' he said. And, turning toward Enjolras gently, he said to him, 'Will you permit it?' Enjolras shook his hand with a smile. The smile had not finished before the report was heard. Enjolras, pierced by eight bullets, remained backed up against the wall is if the bullets had nailed him there. Except that his head was tilted. Grantaire, struck down, collapsed at his feet.
When her doctor took her bandages off and led her into the garden, the girl who was no longer blind saw 'the tree with the lights in it.' It was for this tree I searched through the peach orchards of summer, in the forests of fall and down winter and spring for years. Then one day I was walking along Tinker creek and thinking of nothing at all and I saw the tree with the lights in it. I saw the backyard cedar where the mourning doves roost charged and transfigured, each cell buzzing with flame. I stood on the grass with the lights in it, grass that was wholly fire, utterly focused and utterly dreamed. It was less like seeing that like being for the first time see, knocked breathless by a powerful glance. The flood of fire abated, but I'm still spending the power. Gradually the lights went out in the cedar, the colors died, the cells un-flamed and disappeared. I was still ringing. I had been my whole life a bell and never knew it until at that moment I was lifted and struck. I have since only very rarely seen the tree with the lights in it. The vision comes and goes, mostly goes, but I live for it, for the moment the mountains open and a new light roars in spate through the crack, and the mountains slam.
An Arundel Tomb Side by side, their faces blurred, The earl and countess lie in stone, Their proper habits vaguely shown As jointed armour, stiffened pleat, And that faint hint of the absurd - The little dogs under their feet. Such plainness of the pre-Baroque Hardly involves the eye, until It meets his left-hand gauntlett, still Clasped empty in the other, and One sees with a sharp tender shock His hand withdrawn, holding her hand. They would not think to lie so long, Such faithfulness in effigy Was just a detail friends would see, A sculptor's sweet commissioned grace Thrown off in helping to prolong The Latin names around the base. They would not guess how early in Their supine stationary voyage The air would change to soundless damage, Turn the old tenantry away; How soon succeeding eyes being To look, not read. Rigidly, they Persisted, linked, through lengths and breadths Of time. Snow fell, undated. Light Each summer thronged the grass. A bright Litter of birdcalls strewed the same Bone-littered ground. And up the paths The endless altered people came Washing at their identity. Now helpless in the hollow Of an unarmorial age, a trough Of smoke in slow suspended skeins Above their scrap of history, Only an attitude remains. Time has transfigured them into Untruth. The stone fidelity They hardly meant has come to be Their final blazon and to prove Our almost-instinct almost-true: What will survive of us is love.
The fact is,' said Van Gogh, 'the fact is that we are painters in real life, and the important thing is to breathe as hard as ever we can breathe.' So I breathe. I breathe at the open window above my desk, and a moist fragrance assails me from the gnawed leaves of the growing mock orange. This air is as intricate as the light that filters through forested mountain ridges and into my kitchen window; this sweet air is the breath of leafy lungs more rotted than mine; it has sifted through the serrations of many teeth. I have to love these tatters. And I must confess that the thought of this old yard breathing alone in the dark turns my mind to something else. I cannot in all honesty call the world old when I've seen it new. On the other hand, neither will honesty permit me suddenly to invoke certain experiences of newness and beauty as binding, sweeping away all knowledge. But I am thinking now of the tree with the lights in it, the cedar in the yard by the creek I saw transfigured. That the world is old and frayed is no surprise; that the world could ever become new and whole beyond uncertainty was, and is, such a surprise that I find myself referring all subsequent kinds of knowledge to it. And it suddenly occurs to me to wonder: were the twigs of the cedar I saw really bloated with galls? They probably were; they almost surely were. I have seen these 'cedar apples' swell from that cedar's green before and since: reddish gray, rank, malignant. All right then. But knowledge does not vanquish mystery, or obscure its distant lights. I still now and will tomorrow steer by what happened that day, when some undeniably new spirit roared down the air, bowled me over, and turned on the lights. I stood on grass like air, air like lightning coursed in my blood, floated my bones, swam in my teeth. I've been there, seen it, been done by it. I know what happened to the cedar tree, I saw the cells in the cedar tree pulse charged like wings beating praise. Now, it would be too facile to pull everything out of the hat and say that mystery vanquishes knowledge. Although my vision of the world of the spirit would not be altered a jot if the cedar had been purulent with galls, those galls actually do matter to my understanding of this world. Can I say then that corruption is one of beauty's deep-blue speckles, that the frayed and nibbled fringe of the world is a tallith, a prayer shawl, the intricate garment of beauty? It is very tempting, but I cannot. But I can, however, affirm that corruption is not beauty's very heart and I can I think call the vision of the cedar and the knowledge of these wormy quarryings twin fjords cutting into the granite cliffs of mystery and say the new is always present simultaneously with the old, however hidden. The tree with the lights in it does not go out; that light still shines on an old world, now feebly, now bright. I am a frayed and nibbled survivor in a fallen world, and I am getting along. I am aging and eaten and have done my share of eating too. I am not washed and beautiful, in control of a shining world in which everything fits, but instead am wandering awed about on a splintered wreck I've come to care for, whose gnawed trees breathe a delicate air, whose bloodied and scarred creatures are my dearest companions, and whose beauty beats and shines not in its imperfections but overwhelmingly in spite of them, under the wind-rent clouds, upstream and down.