Please Call Me by My True Names
(Thich Nhat Hanh)
Do not say that I will be gone tomorrow,
for even now I still return.
Look deeply: I arrive in each fresh moment
To be a bud on a tender spring branch,
To be 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
Can be left open,
The door of compassion.