These ramparts of yours - who has promised to build them for you? - this morning suddenly we find ourselves floating on the ocean amid winds and waves. Suffering itself builds the last shelter in which you will spend the cruelest of nights. Do repeat to me what I have promised (it has been a long time), so that I will be present on that day to serve as your witness. The arrows that struck me - I still bear them in the flesh of my body. They have not been returned. Take good care of your own garden, brother. I am a bird and, like other birds, will only look for fresh water and good seeds. We will be back in your garden. Be the monarch of your life and sign the decree to exile suffering and call back from all points of the universe. the power of birds and flowers, the vitality of youth. The whole universe will smile When your eyes smile.
Thich Nhat Hanh
This poem was written in 1960 in the small Bamboo Grove Temple in Gia Dinh, where my hut had a dirt floor. I wrote this for young monks and nuns, confirming my love and support. I knew they suffered so much in the situation of war. (from Call Me By My True Names - Parallax Press 1993)
Photo courtesy of Plum Village