Sri Ram

Poem: Please Call Me By My True Names

by Thich Nhat Hanh,  #37 Autumn 2004

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.

I am also 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 "dept 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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