Please Call Me by My True Names

Please Call Me by My True Names

 

Don’t say that I will depart tomorrow-
even today I am still arriving.

 

Look deeply: every second I am arriving
to be a bud on a Spring branch,
to be a tiny bird, with still-fragile wings,
learning to sing in my new nest,
to be a caterpillar in the heart of a flower,
to be a jewel hiding itself in a stone.

 

I still arrive, in order to laugh and to cry,
to fear and to hope.
The rhythm of my heart is the birth and death
of all that is alive.

 

I am a mayfly metamorphosing
on the surface of the river.
And I am the bird
that swoops down to swallow the mayfly.

 

I am a frog swimming happily
in the clear water of a pond.
And I am the grass-snake
that silently feeds itself on the frog.

 

I am the child in Uganda, all skin and bones,
my legs as thin as bamboo sticks.
And I am the arms merchant,
selling deadly weapons to Uganda.

 

I am the twelve-year-old girl,
refugee on a small boat,
who throws herself into the ocean
after being raped by a sea pirate.
And I am the pirate,
my heart not yet capable
of seeing and loving.

 

I am a member of the politburo
with plenty of power in my hands.
And I am the man who has to pay
his “debt of blood” to my people
dying slowly in a forced-labor camp.

 

My joy is like Spring, so warm
it makes flowers bloom all over the Earth.
My pain is like a river of tears,
so vast it fills the four oceans.

 

Please call me by my true names,
so I can hear all my cries and laughter at once,
so I can see that my joy and pain are one.

 

Please call me by my true names,
so I can wake up
and the door of my heart
could be left open,
the door of compassion.

 

-Thich Nhat Hanh
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This entry was posted in Buddhism, Faith, Journey, Poetry, Southeast Asia, Vietnam. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Please Call Me by My True Names

  1. Nathan says:

    Who is this “me” that you speak of?

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