Please Call Me By My True Names

This morning I read a poem by Thich Nhat Hahn.

Please Call Me by My True Names

Do not say that I’ll 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 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 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 so the door of my heart can be left open,
the door of compassion.

If you like to listen to poems here is one version

I am still mulling over the poem.  To truly embrace ourselves and others with love, compassion and equanimity, its important to recognize the interconnectedness we share.  When we can dissolve the roots of anger, hate and envy with seeds of love, compassion and joy in ourselves and experience peace we won’t help to water the roots of anger, and the like in others. Instead we can help them sow their own seeds of kindness, love and compassion. Coming back to peace starts within.





8 thoughts on “Please Call Me By My True Names

  1. I think this may be the most beautiful thing I have ever read. And I love your photo of the Lenten roses. Thank you again for reading my blog. When I stop crying I will reblog yours.

    1. Thank you for your comment and reading my posts too!….I too find this poem heart rendering. Thich Nhat Hahn’s work is inspiring…..
      Have a joy filled day.

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