Sarah Mandie: ‘Chosen’


Chosen to be holy and the infidel.
Chosen to stand out and blend in as well.
Chosen to keep calm, faced with an enemy.
Chosen to endure the loss within self-loathing’s shell.
Chosen to tell stories of miracles and heroes, of saviours, battles and of trials.
Chosen to learn lessons from documented history.
Chosen to preserve the truth and
to see it blotted out by indifference and denial.
Chosen to hide—in an attic,
a bunker, a hole in the ground.
Chosen to be betrayed by our neighbours and our “friends”.
Untethered from our home, chosen to survive.
Chosen to carry years of flight in our hearts and minds.
Chosen to remember a wall, a scroll, a genocide.
Chosen to inscribe a sign and to sing an ancient tongue,
and chosen to recite prayers for Jerusalem.
Chosen to be the problem, the reason and the cause.
Chosen to be cast in old conspiracies remade.
Chosen to be free in our own land, a debt that can never be repaid.
Chosen to be judged by the unqualified, and by our own harsh critique.
Chosen to be despised for our religion, race, and now, our state.
Chosen to be blamed for being strong and for being weak,
for being divided and for being one.
Chosen to answer the question—with no satisfactory reply.
Why does everybody hate us? Why?
Chosen to be betrayed by our neighbours and our “friends”.
Chosen to bear witness to murder and immorality,
chosen to be the light and to watch the darkness spread.
Chosen to defend ourselves while war’s our greatest dread.
Chosen to absorb all this, and chosen to believe,
one day—the lion will lay down with the lamb
and peace will be our creed.

Sarah Mandie


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