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Please Call me by my True Names- 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 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 “debt of blood” to my peopledying 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 upand the door of my heart

could be left open,the door of compassion.

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