Remember Me

A poem that explores the challenges of dementia, Alzheimer’s and the recent submissions of the Royal Commission on Aged Care.

A poem that explores the challenges of dementia, Alzheimer’s and the recent submissions of the Royal Commission on Aged Care.

Remember Me

Remember me
Remember me
For my life is fading
Remember me
My glorious years
Bittersweet distant memories
So precious
They melt away inexorably.

Before my eyes
Shades are drawn tightly
Mist surrounds my senses
It is dusk for me
Fear for company
My words escape
A hideous leak
A breach I cannot seal
An affect I cannot mask
A remedy I cannot make.

I sit alone now
A strangers place
In the dark
In piss
And shit
Leaking on the floor
A stench so strong
It’s nauseating.

And wait for others
To remember
To remember me
Scurrying past
No time
No regret
Absent eyes
On a clock
They’re gone again
Gone again.

A cycle ending
A babe again
But without that innate curiosity
For life is spent
Zeal stolen
Before my time
It’s not fair!
I had more time!
Twenty more years!
Please more time!

Remember me
Please remember me
As I once was
Living life
Laughter an anchor in twilight years
Before I was a burden
Before I was too much
Too much to share
To care
The shame I brought
I’m sorry
Remember me.

But in an instant
A joyous moment
Trigger unknown
Confusion gone
For the briefest time
My past
Sings so sweet
My family remembered
Bathe me in sweetness and love
They embrace me
Colour returns
And the laughter
As if it was yesterday
They bring tears to my eyes
My hands they tense
My throat constricts
I shake
A sob

Remember me

© Vinod Ralh. 2019

Trapped by your minds creations

More needs to be done to monitor, support and intervene with those that need it most – some of the most vulnerable and invisible people in society.

My brother Sushil battled mental health issues most of his life and passed away recently and unexpectedly. This is his story, his eulogy.

The World Health Organisation states that people with severe mental disorders on average die 10-25 year earlier, often due to preventable chronic physical illnesses and suicide. More needs to be done to monitor, support and intervene with those that need it most – some of the most vulnerable and invisible people in society.

My brother
I’m sorry I was not there for you
My shame forevermore
For alone you fell into darkness
Your last moments
In a cage
Trapped by your minds creations
Voices that could not be silenced
Though sometimes faded
Remained split
And hidden and trampled in their midst
A small but not so innocent boy
Who never got that chance
To grow up
To grow old
To grow wise
To experience everything that is life
That unadulterated joy.

My brother
Your body so cruelly and savagely
Added to your anguish
Locked into grotesque pose
Attacked itself
Every step
Every shuffle
A reminder
Another harsh unfair
Sharp pain to endure

My brother
Do you remember happier times?
Sweet moments
Where you let in those who loved you?
Where pain and humiliation were forgotten?
Where you forgave yourself for what you had said and done?
Where anger and frustration
When it seized you
Was not your fault
You were not in control
You were along for the ride
With your life marked by such cruel tragedy
Surrounded by never ending sadness
A longing for normality
You displayed such strength and resolve to carry on
You persevered
You fought on.

My brother
Fate left you
One weapon
With which to yield
With which
To make a mark
With humour
To compensate
To hit bullseye
To show your defiance
To show you were alive
That you were here
A sentient being
With pride intact
To a system
That did not seek to understand
That simply
Did not care.

My brother
Did you see the beacon
Your sister had lit for you
Our cherished one
Who went two years ago
To light a path
For you to join her, mum and dad
Our dear departed family
Their love and compassion
Was so strong
And you for them
The bonds were unbreakable
Your grief insurmountable
And now the anguish of separation is naught
For the ones that loved you the most
Now beckon you
Now speak to you
With tenderness and compassion
With eyes moist, tears and joy
They sit with you
They embrace you
Their son
Her brother
Holding hands
Firmly grasped
Never letting go.

My brother
Do you remember your family?
Aunties and uncles?
Your cousins?
Your friends?
Those who reached out to you in the wilderness?
Sometimes quizzically
Cooking endless supplies of curry
That had to be just right
Not too hot
Not too spicy
Copious amounts of roti
Yes more roti
More roti!
Sharing your cooking wisdom
Hard won sitting on the couch
Amazing imagination
Pure fiction
Barking orders
Mirth in your eyes
Simple pleasures
Small, sweet
Grasped moments
Of escape
Pushing limits
Rejoicing life.

My brother
Do you remember
Those who cared
And strangers ambling by
Caught in your net
Who sat
Who shared a Costa coffee,
And in the stillness smoked
Modern day philosophers
Brothers and sisters in arms
Who took time
To talk, to reflect, to dissect
To solve the country’s woes
To be crass
To talk real truth
Of what is inside
To conjure stories from nothingness
To laugh aloud
To feel human
To fill that ache
That void
That loneliness
To mute your many voices
To remember that precious irony
Called life.

My brother
Do you remember when we were young?
Can you part the mists of time?
To when life was simple?
Our house full of laughter
Of so much warmth and love
Of sunshine
And you – a maelstrom
In the centre of it all
Teasing, using that sharp mind
Pushing playfully at the limits
Stepping beyond
Damn the consequences
Feeling a mother’s wrath
A sharp stinging slap
False anger
A smile quickly escaping her mask
Point won
Easing the path of those that followed
Thanks bro.

My brother
Our eccentric dresser
Our fashionista
Gold jewellery your currency
Funny man full of wit and pathos
Laughing your crazy, infectious laugh
Music your lifeblood
Crooning along to Elvis
Rolling your cigarettes with precision
Small pleasures inhaled
A man
Larger than life
Moments that linger
To touch oh so weary hearts.

My brother
So much time has past
so much is faded and forgotten
Childhood a distant memory
Embers spent
Growing cold
And as ashes gently fall
So too does sleep beckon
So rest in peace now
Dear brother
Go gently and rest in peace
Let go of all that troubled you
Turmoils finally soothed
Your journey now
At an end
To a far better resting place you go
A place that is without cages
Are free.

© Vinod Ralh. 2019


Real life peeks through, with its creaks, its cracks and crevices.
The ugly but plain truth casts its shadow on our green plains

Be the difference

I was asked why I had been focusing on participating in workshops, hackathons and initiatives with a focus on social impact . I thought about it for a while and this poem expresses why technologists participation can potentially make a significant impact on societal issues and cut through traditional, risk adverse and often manually intensive current practices.

The fantastic illustrations here are by my son Ben. In the video I also have amazing illustrations by my colleague Jean-Baptiste Vincent.

A beloved father

Eyes so wild


Screaming at the world

His family slowly disintegrating around him

Helplessly, watching on.

A young daughter

Her innocence lost

Clutching her beloved teddy

Stares vacantly ahead

As her uncle closes her bedroom door.


A teenage boy

Family a distant memory

Inhaling and numbing his mind

Vanquishing thoughts of the tricks he’s performing.

An elderly lady

Deep lines etch her face

Teeth rotten


Swollen feet her grace

Preferring the safety of the streets to the danger of a shared home.

A woman

Toils with years of emotional and physical abuse

Incessantly beaten

To breaking point

Calls the police


To just make him stop

Charged for wasting police time.

A teenage girl

A bright and beautiful future ahead

Drowning in dread

She sees no other way

She steps into the abyss.

An old, pitiful man

Slowly shuffling on the streets

Confused and afraid

His mind slowly

Whittled away.

The hopelessness of the refugee

Feared for colour and religion

His qualifications not recognised

Loosing not just a home

But his essence

His meaning and his pride.

The middle-aged man sits at home

Solitude for company

And In that silence he is alone




The carer

A parent, sibling or child

Driven by love and duty

Makes the ultimate sacrifice

Their life not their own

Here – Oh Dot – in our pristine towers

We lead such safe and privileged lives

Our endless selfies showcasing our beautiful lies with our beaming, megawatt smiles

Our burning question no more inconsequential that our order

“Earl Grey. Soy on the side”.

But occasionally…

Oh so occasionally…

Real life peeks through, with its creaks, its cracks and crevices

The ugly but plain truth casts its shadow on our green plains

We join the unwashed masses

Gravity holds sway

Our feet touch the ground

We smell our fear

Our faces crease in uncertainty

We pause…

We have to turn away from our PowerPoint

We remove our hands from the keyboard and coding is stopped for the day.

Can we as technologists do more?

Can we in our youth focus our energies and passion?

Can we open our eyes to the world around us?

To the injustice that surrounds us?

To take some time out and do battle for a worthwhile cause?

Can we bring meaning?

Can we make an impact?

A social impact and make our lives matter more?

Last year, we gathered on several occasions

Our zealous zeal unbounded

In smalls teams to tackle a cause

We used hackathons to focus

To learn. To think. To try. To feed the soul.

It is an imperfect system

But if we can start to look beyond our iPhone’s camera lens

At a younger age, to really see beyond our field of view

To see what’s authentic and what’s fake

To refuse to let destiny become reality.

The fusion of technology, creativity and humanity

Where everything is possible

Not baulking, but applying to where there is the greatest need

Can technology transform society?

Can we serve people more?

That would be a sight to see.

Join me

Or don’t join me

Just take stock

Just think beyond your safe and pretty life

Apply that brain

That passion

Those ideas

Bring change

Breathe Change

Make change

Be the difference.

Oh my beloved father

My daughter

My son

My wife

My mother

My sister

My friend

My grandfather

A stranger.

One day, you will fear no more.

© Vinod Ralh 2019

Climatic – a climate change story

At its heart its about the issue of apathy towards climate change, why there such a lack of interest and how we can engage people in this important issue. It discusses how we can find a way to move people from a position of apathy to interested and then finally to become activists.

Advance Australia Fair – A Climate Change Story

The idea for this poem came out of GovHack 2018 – a programming competition in Australia using government open data sets . Our team settled on climate change and environmental data sets and I wanted to experiment with using poem structure to explain the issue and our solution. My first attempt at a poem and recording it over a weekend was terrible but I felt so alarmed by the research I had done on climate change that I continued refine it for several months afterwards.

At its heart its about the issue of apathy towards climate change, why there such a lack of interest and how we can engage people in this important issue. It discusses how we can find a way to move people from a position of apathy to interested and then finally to become activists.

It represents one of my first spoken word poems and I was initially quite nervous to put it out in the wild… but then I thought life’s too short!

I recorded a video version using many photos from – so thanks to that site and the many photographers whose excellent work I’ve used that are provided for free to the community.

It’s extraordinary climate deniers remain in Australian Politics

David Attenborough

Australians all let us rejoice

For we are young and free

We’ve golden soil and wealth for toil

Our home is girt by sea

Our land abounds in nature’s gifts

Of beauty rich and rare

In history’s page, let every stage

Advance Australia Fair

In joyful strains then let us sing

Advance Australia Fair

The majestic beauty of our land 

Its frailties so easily exposed.

Crops inundated by floods

And starved by drought 

Farmers wandering what to sow

The beauty of our coastal plains 

And our coral reefs diversity,

Whispering their bittersweet  swansong

To our nation 

So Poignantly 

A story of unrelenting turmoil and tragedy.




Affected by this new and terrible reality.

The imperceptible creeping rise of H20

It’s higher tides and storm surges 

With its urges 

To wash away all signs of our humanity

While we struggle to see the impending calamity

As it lurches ever closer

The harsh price we pay

With weather patterns 

Taking no pity on our damaged lands

Our bedraggled homes pummeled by  downpours and blight

Our browning lawns gasping

Eeking out paltry vapours as they fight

For their very  survival.

We stare on in false ecstasy 

With false bravado at our lucky country

With idle chatter and polite social conversation 

We fixate on investment, 

Of house prices with all their fallacies

Choosing to ignore the elephant trumpeting in our room

Can you not see Caesar!

Rome is burning!

We stare on…

Our gazes carefully ignoring that which  is in front of our eyes. 

Like lobsters in a pot


Oblivious of our impending culinary demise

An hors d’oeurve, 

To be quickly nibbled, digested and our remains to be cast aside

Why so much apathy to this danger?

The signals clearly in front of our eyes

How big do the billboards need to be 

to be recognised?

Do the neon lights need to be flashing?

The foghorns blaring?

What can we surmise?

What will it take

For us to stumble off the couch

Stumbling as if drunk

With bleary eyes

With uncertainty 

With sweaty bodies fattened by inaction

With little consensus of the right path

With trepidation and meditation

But now with conviction 

Be brave

Suck it in

We will enter the fray.

Lead on McDuff!

Lead on!

Are we deer frozen by some blinding headlights?

Is our political system too broken? 

To focused  on sound bites that have no might

Our media chasing headline stories 

Of vacuous celebrities that amount only to a pregnant pause.

Our scientists shouting in the wilderness 

Their voices drowned out

Not finding a voice that can be heard 

Not finding a connection to the greater cause

In this desert

Do we simply bury our heads in the sand?

Is the problem too large for us to understand?

So do we shrug our shoulders and continue on our way?

Do we have the power and wherewithal to stay

To fight

Are we delegating our responsibility?

Believing that a higher power will be our salvation?

That there is no need for consternation.

That the Mighty Lord in his revelations 

Will save us from our flaws.

Is that our mitigation?

But just in case…

Can we not in our busy lives,

simply take a moment to


Close our eyes



Do we not feel some foreboding?

A faint tingling in our bodies

The tip of our tongue

Our second sense

If we strain our eyes 

do we not see the shadows lurking?

How do we tear away a popcorn generation.

One weaned on the teat that is our fixation.

A Facebook generation that will pout, take a pic, and share their devotion 

Hungrily counting their ephemeral adulation

And a commitment so slight 

That as a wispy breeze it simply ends with a like. 

How do we put a stop to mind numbing activity 

How do we shift our gaze to the fore

To help us realise that the world’s fuse has been lit

That this may lead to a moment

A moment that leaves the world with no option

No option but to eject us 

Eject us while our species 

Our species that is still in its infancy

A not-so-innocent babe in arms

Snuffed out

Before Its legacy has even  begun 

How do we wake up a generation from its slumber

That it is being led by a Joker

An orange pied piper – a ludicrous New Yorker

Perhaps to our eventual elimination?

To shake man, women and child  from their complacency

To show them it is not too late

That we can crawl to the starting gate

And That we through many small steps walk the talk with conviction

And then,  as a nation our future generations will be ready to run at the problems head on, tempered by experience

 and armed with the knowledge that there is no one else

That we have gifted this world to them

This problem to solve

In our shame…

For there is no one else to blame…

I hope …not too late…

The is hope…

Can we use technology effectively to connect emotionally

To tear the bleary eyed from their stupor

With tools to hook them

Not with far fetched fantasy

But to show them the effects of climate change now to their hometowns, communities and families

With tools that let them see the impact first hand

That tell a  story that they can understand 

To open their eyes and digest a future chapter to be written

From that dusty book

You know – that book that they never picked up from the library

In a lonely corner

What’s it called?

Ah yes!

That’s the section

That’s called non-fiction

With attention hooked

Can we take the protagonist on their life journey

The ups and downs

Can we show them the bigger picture

The impact of inaction 

not simply to the economy.

But life itself in all its glory

On a knife edge 

and in that cutting moment

Which way will it fall?

Can we help them guide its sway?

Can we show them how the lack of environmental policy,

not demanding we answer  the hard questions, 

Gaia’s wicked problems to be solved.

Can we put data  in their hands.

Help them with the crossword puzzle

To make informed  decisions for our land.

Can we dis-intermediate  the flow of information

Not controlled by faceless men 

Of corporations who seek to profit

From a status quo

That cannot be maintained


Those who want to hide and ignore the worse cases

And those who seek to alarm of only worst cases

Allow people to understand 

To understand the risks

and take their own journey

Allow them to find their own story

Can one empowered with information 

Armed with knowledge

For with knowledge comes enlightenment 

Can one build a sense of urgency

And With conviction to follow it to its bitter end

To be willing to make sacrifices on the way

A way that should have started yesterday

And though we fear our fortune

Let us believe, let us hope that it is not too late

Than our pregnant pause has not Sealed our fate

That we can get out of the starting gate

Let us embark on our journey

On its twisted and turning path

 that will require some radical change

We must remember

To be resilient

To be tenacious

Not give up hope

We must realise that

To run we must first walk

To walk we must first crawl

To crawl we must first know why

In our youth and freedom

To rejoice, to be free

For history’s gaze

Will require that we toil

Nature’s gifts are waiting

And through our strains

We will rebuild our luck country

And we will sing

We will advance Australia fair.

© Vinod Ralh 2019