Ancient as my people, new as today,
Pharaoh, ruler over the Narrow Place

Forever lodged in my heart

You reign over Upper as well as Lower Egypt,
embodying humanity’s struggle

Your dual kingship is manifest
in the double crowns you wear—

One white for Upper Egypt,
and one red for Lower Egypt.

You are regarded as “the distant one”
but are near as my breath

I now understand—you are
humanity’s collective stubbornness

I cannot hate you!
I say ‘no’ everyday, and regret it—

Your repeated refusals are a gift
in my journey to liberation

I return to you for clarity
of that great and powerful No!

With each cup of wine—
symbol of joy and happiness,

I will also taste the blood
on the doorsteps of my heart.

With each bite of Matzah—
food of faith, I accept the shackles

binding me to impatience,
as I revisit my slavery,

You teach me that
freedom is slow

Liberation is not complete
until I receive the gift of gratitude

Yearning to let you go
I retell your story

I pray that I learn to pass over,
the fences I erect,

and if I shed a small part of you today,
it will be enough.

— © Abraham Menashe