PHAROAH

Ancient as my people, new
as today, Pharaoh, you are
ruler over that narrow place

Forever lodged in my heart

Your name means
the “Great House”, or
“King of Two Lands”—

You reign over Upper and 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
our collective stubbornness

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

Your refusal is 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

that bind me to impatience,
as i revisit my slavery,

You teach me that
freedom is slow

Liberation is not complete
until i receive the way of gratitude

My terror is not of you pharaoh,
it has always been in me

who yearns to let you go
my inner child keeps searching,

while the grown up in me
retells your story

As I step into the Sea, the reeds will part,
making way to the mountain

where all gifts are received.
I pray that I learn to pass over,

the fences I erect, and
if i shed a small piece

of you today,
it will be enough.

— Abraham Menashe
© 2017