Call Me By My True Names

The Bird Sings Oral Tradition Song Library

Call Me By My True Names

Unequivocally one of my all-time favorite songs, this beauty has been adapted from the poem, “Call Me By My True Names” by Thich Nhat Hanh. Despite my best sleuthing, I’ve never been able to find attribution for the melody, which I first heard from Yopi Jay (who doesn’t know where it came from either.) Another, professionally recorded and beautiful version of this song is on my album, Nightsong.

Composer & Copyright

Original words by Thich Nhat Hanh. Music composer unknown. Arranged for Wholehearted Chorus by Lisa G. Littlebird.


Guitar and vocals on this recording by Lisa G. Littlebird. Individual parts tracks coming soon!



My joy is like a spring so warm
It makes flowers bloom all over the earth
My pain is like a river of tears
So vast that it fills the four oceans

Please call me by my true names
So I can hear my cries and laughter at once
So I can feel that my joy and pain are one

Please call me by my true names
So that I may wake up
And the doors of my heart will be left open

Teaching Notes

Coming soon!


Level of teaching speed/ difficulty (1 = very easy, 10 = very challenging)

  • PS H/T to Juliana Murphy for giving me this info!

  • The music was written by Joseph Emet (interestingly, at least to me, his last name means “truth” in Hebrew!); you can find the sheet music here:

  • Very much enjoying listening to several of Thay’s poems and songs to celebrate his life and passing. Thanks for this beautiful version. 🙂

  • Karen River

    So beautiful….so many tears singing, listening to this one.

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