Please Call Me By My True Names

By Thich Nhat Hanh
 
 
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 hinds. 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.
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5 Comments

Filed under poem, poetry

5 responses to “Please Call Me By My True Names

  1. songtothesirens

    That reminds me of the series of negations that second president of the Soka Gakkai (Nichiren Buddhism), Josei Toda went through while obtaining enlightenment while he was in prison. He went to prison for his refusal to give up his belief in Nichiren Buddhism. While there, he realized the Buddha is none other than Life itself in all it’s forms. Thus, the list of negations. If I can find a way to copy and post them for you, I will. My ex sent them to me as a .jpeg?

    Liked by 1 person

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