Inspiration for today

Almost a year ago, I chanced upon this beautiful poem by Thich Nhat Hanh, a Vietnamese monk who is also known as ‘Thay’ (means teacher) to his students.  Recognized as the father of mindfulness in the West, he was also nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr in 1967.  He has written over 100 books, 40 of which have been translated to English.  Although I can’t quite say that I am a Buddhist, his teachings have deeply resonated with me and his life of service, a lifelong inspiration.

I have just  learned that he is now awaiting the end of his life in his home country.  I thought of the many lives he has touched through his wisdom, courage and compassion.  In his honor, I am sharing this poem of one-ness with you.

I wish you all a blessed week ahead.


Please Call Me By My True Names 

by Thich Nhat Hanh


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 a 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 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 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.

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.

18 thoughts on “Inspiration for today

  1. This is a beautiful share, my friend. I’m also touched by Thich Nhat Hanh’s teachings, and the world sorely needs his wisdom. I’m sorry to learn that he is nearing the end of his life, but comforted to know his words will live on in his books. ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I was deeply moved by this poem. Its contents offer profound insights into life and humanity. I haven’t read a lot of Thich Nhat Hanh teachings; this post makes me want to learn more from the “Zen Master.” Thank you so much for sharing.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Thank you for sharing this beautiful and inspiring poem. It is generous of you to honour this great teacher and poet by sharing his work and propagating his wisdom and knowledge, thus inspiring others who visit your wonderful website. I feel blessed to have read this today, and I am grateful to have found your website. Please continue the great work that you’re doing on this wonderful platform that you’ve created here! Wishing you showers of inspiration and blessings as you continue to touch more and more hearts with your wonderful work.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Your words lifted my spirit today and I am deeply grateful to you for taking the time to visit and to comment. Thay’s teachings, I feel, are so universal and all of us, regardless of our differences, can learn so much from them. I feel blessed too to have gotten to know bloggers like you, whose writing and whose life experiences have truly inspired me and encouraged me to be better and to do better. I wish you the very best with your blog, as well, and know that readers like me truly enjoy your “wordmanship”. I look forward to getting to know you and to learn from you. Have a blessed week ahead. 🙂


  4. This poem was exquisite and truly remarkable I find it quite extraordinary how you honored this wonderful teacher and his teachings, it takes a selfless person to do that I am truly filled with gratitude to be able to see your post, Bob Marley wrote that the greatness of a man is not in how much wealth he acquires but in his integrity and his ability to affect those around him positively and that is what you did

    Liked by 2 people

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s