Sunday, February 7, 2010

Call me by my true names



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Do not say that I'll depart tomorrow -
even today I am still arriving.
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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.
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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.
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I am a mayfly metamorphosing
on the surface of the river.
And I am the bird which, when Spring comes,
arrives in time to eat the mayfly.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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~ Thich Nhat Hanh,  from 'Being Peace'

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