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Thich Nhat Hanh

Call me by my true names?"



Do not say that I'll depart tomorrow

Because even today I still arrive.

Look deeply; I arrive in every second

to be a bud on a spring branch,

to be a tiny bird, with wings still fragile,

learning to sing in my new nest,

to be a caterpillar in the heart of the flower,

to be a jewel hiding itself in a stone.

I still arrive, in order to laugh and to cry,

In order to fear and to hope,

The rhythm of my heart is the birth and

death of all that are alive.

I am the mayfly metamorphosing on the

surface of the river,

And I am the bird which, when spring comes,

Arrives in time to eat the mayfly.

I am the frog swimming happily in the

clear water of a pond,

And I am also the grass-snake who

Approaching in silence,

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 12-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 in all walks of life.

My pain is like a river of tears, so full it

fills up the four oceans.

Please call me by my true names,

So I can hear all my cries and my laughs

At once,

So I can see my joy and pain are one.

Please call me by my true names,

So I can wake up,

And so the door of my heart can be left open,

The door of compassion.

Thich Nhat Hanh


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