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.
Plesae 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.
May God bless and protect you and…
May you always be
Safe and Comfortable
Seth Kelly Curtis