2018-03-13

Raven 46: Raven Roshi

What you are is a whole package, the whole deal. You probably think you don't like parts of that deal. My guess is, you know something about shame. But being you requires all of you. Maybe we like to imagine ourselves without certain parts, but this is delusive fantasy. We'd be disoriented without any part of the whole package, shameful bits and all.
(The predation issue also came up in Raven 17. and is in the background of Raven 22 and Raven 23.)

Case
One morning Porcupine came to Raven privately and asked, "What is Raven Roshi?"
Raven said, "I have this urge to prey on newborn lambs."
Porcupine asked, "How do you deal with it?"
Raven said, "I'd be disoriented without it."
Verse
In my dreams of trees
Maples and pines
Deny themselves nothing.
The world imposes limitations,
Constrains indulgence,
So they don't have to --
   in my dreams of trees.

I, however, self-deny:
Cruel desires, like bacon,
Or the merely self-destructive ones, like doughnuts, sometimes.
It falls to me to weigh competing desires,
To determine which conflicting urge prevails.
Thus I am fraught, as oaks are not,
   in my dreams of trees.

I forget that sycamore and birch have stratagems.
The pushing root, the turn of leaf,
the velocity of sap,
are imperfect perfect
responses to circumstance --
exactly as my choosings are,
   in my dreams of trees.
Case by Robert Aitken; introduction and verse by Meredith Garmon
Raven 45

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