2020-07-30

Raven 133: Rebirth

Who or what is it that could be reincarnated? Your body? What else? Perhaps just some part of you? That's not you.

Case
Owl asked, "What do you think of the doctrine of reincarnation?"
Raven said, "Not my body."
Owl said, "Maybe my terminology is mistaken. What do you think of the doctrine of rebirth?"
Raven said, "Not my beak."
Verse
This body -- this skinbag with its names and habits,
And 
This body -- the world and stars; vast, void, unnameable:
How is this body also this body?
Strange.
And
Familiar.
(How much stranger if it weren't.)

It's like children, how they belong to all of us
And
By established convention, there's special responsibility for my own.
The general, easy to forget;
The special, impossible to.
It's like that.

As a toddler demands my attention,
And 
When she doesn't, compels it nonetheless,
This bag of water, poop, and karma --
Of eros and of dust, Auden said --
Requires attention
And
Attending, I notice
The little one's riveting eyes declare:
This body is this body.

Case adapted from Robert Aitken; introduction and verse by Meredith Garmon
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