Do not say that I will depart tomorrow — even today I am still arriving … ~ Thich Nhat Hanh

thich nhat hanh still arriving

Do not 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 are alive.

I am the mayfly metamorphosing
on the surface of the river,
and I am the bird
that swoops down to swallow the mayfly.

I am the frog swimming happily
in the clear pond,
and I am also 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 in all walks of life.

thay flower bloom

My pain is like a river of tears,
so full it fills the four oceans.

Please call me by my true names,
so I can hear all my cries and laughs 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.

    ~ Thich Nhat Hanh

 

Our Teacher page for Thich Nhat Hanh is a great resource … and as is typical of our Teacher pages, it provides a comprehensive view about his background, and work.

This poem is from “Call Me By My True Names” The Collected Poems of Thich Nhat Hanh… found via Poetry Chaikhana.
Images (edited & logo added): 1) Sunrise by terimakasih0, 2) Bird Flower by ADD, 3) Autumn by valiunic, 4) Moon by AlexAndropov86, 5) Sunrise by TimHill. All are CC0 Public Domain.
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