2021. Ah, this was the year that was…

Photo by Two Dreamers on Pexels.com
This was the year that was…

Propaganda over policies
Power over principles
Pandemic over protection.

A Whittling away of democracy
Lack of accountability
Politicians playacting
Where shadowed maestros play the tune
That we all dance to.

A corrupted system 
Orchestrated by robber barons of old made new
With graft now unashamedly done in public
The old boys protected at every turn.

Falsehoods and fallacies overtake truth as myth
The cult of me over the community of we
Avarice prostrated as good
Elitism and entitlement rule
And we stay in indentured servitude
Service industries
A so called gig economy
A mockery
Of what is just and true.

With blatant fascism and racism
Now proudly on display
Drumbeats of war to distract us
Talk continues to be cheap
Deaths in custody continue unabated
A national woman’s movement
Decrying subjugation, rape, their hurt
Cheerily do-opted and then ignored
A web of lies spun from every orifice
While men in power positions continue to escape their rightful day in court.

The disabled remain invisible
A footnote consigned to oblivion
Our wealth before their health
Swept away
A dirty secret ignored.

The continual demise of biodiversity
A clock ticking down on the climate
Code red, klaxons blaring

What did we learn?

For the fires that swept through our nation will surely return
And all the co-branding of resilience
The isolationism from our global brotherhood
Where we ignore wave upon waves of new virulent pandemics
That beat incessantly on others shores
It will mean nought.

For what lies ahead of us?

Will we see that the bleakness of 2021
Was but a child's game?
And bring to bear a new reality
That we can no longer spin away
Our truth will be to wish
To plead
That it was the previous year

Where destiny can be prevented
Where there is time to change
The course of what lies ahead.

What did we really learn?

Ah, 2021.
It was the year that was.

Will truth finally have its day?

Photo by Bruno van der Kraan on Unsplash
Oh, craven shadow
Can you draw your eyes away
And fix your gaze?
Can you ignore that 
In front of you?
A truth
In its fierce intensity 
Demanding your attention
Refusing to go away.
The inevitable is finally 
Leaking out 
Of the locked box 
You’ve squirrelled away
Oozing out 
From cracks and crevices
To show you 
Your enduring shame.
Oh, craven shadow
A cancer that has been eating 
At your soul
Invisibly doing its damage 
Your suit of armour helpless
As your rotting corpse 
A stench proceeding you
Growing stronger
More noticeable 
Each and every 
Passing day.
And even though 
You control the airways
And set a nation’s agenda
Some truths are too big
To be contained
And this truth is one
That must be told
Your slights of hand
Cannot distract from this day.
There must be consequences
For those that shamed
And also, what of justice 
For those silenced
For the depravities 
On bodies soiled
For those whose very souls 
Have fragmented 
Living quiet lives burdened
Lives full of shame
Tortured lives
Oh, craven shadow
Time for truth 
Your truth
The victim’s truth 
To finally have 
Their day. 


We live lives of fallacy.
Sleepwalking. Oblivious.
Indentured slaves.

Photo by Harrison Haines on Pexels.com
We live lives  
Of fallacy
Indentured slaves
Going around and around
The hamster wheel
Powering someone else’s 
Parroting those 
Surrounding us
Their diatribe 
Lulled by ignorance
Sweet Lullabies 
Deadening blows 
Leaving no visible marks
As we gorge 
Leftover morsels 
Their seductive charms
Brainwashed and 
Blissfully unaware
As we are 
Inevitably trampled
Ground down 
To dust.
Pulled to and fro 
By dispassionate puppeteers 
With a system rigged
Unfair to most
Stark disparity
Their right of birth
To maintain the status quo
Intent to fulfil 
Every privileged desire.
Time removes
The invisible strings 
That bind consciousness 
Unbidden thoughts 
Seep though
I sense 
My surrounds 
With newly opened eyes
I start 
To spot 
Needless disparity 
Injustices all around
My mind 
It does 
Cause me to pause
To assimilate 
These hidden tapestries 
No longer 
Beyond my
I see 
The world as if anew
Layer upon layer of 
Nameless institutions
Politicians Protecting 
Power and inequity
Fills my core
How have we 
Allowed this 
To become our society?
How could 
Our apathy 
Be so great?
So many remain 
Cocooned in false narratives
Playing another’s 
It’s time 
To take a stand 
Break the chains
The bonds that bind
To protect 
What remains of 
Our land
To stand up for those 
More invisible 
Than you or I
To break the shackles 
On our minds
Regardless of consequences 
To take a leap of faith
And act 
As if our 
Very lives
Depend on it
For they surely do.
Do your worst.

Our nations capital

Where megawatt smiles are switched on in an instant
Compassion only available through a camera’s lens

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com
As I reminisce of our nation’s capital
Of vanquished ideals our forefathers swore
Where megawatt smiles are switched on in an instant
Compassion only available through a camera’s lens
Carefully crafted words available in neat little packages
With well-practiced obfuscations wheeled out in response to crisis
A dance well-choreographed as it sidesteps all questions.

As the world burns around us with increasing frequency
And the environment is damaged beyond repair
As science is followed or ignored depending how well it aligns to manic ideology
And pandemics disrupt any sense of normalcy
As our previous generations are treated as chattel
And money source to be milked and not revered.

As authoritarianism and neo-fascism become increasingly institutionalised
And we turn our backs on fellow man escaping deprivations beyond our imagination
As millions face destitution, death or despair
And we turn inward and ignore our moral duty to the world.

As our leaders become thralls to big business
And corruption becomes a badge of honour
As the media sings to a single tune
And propaganda and news become indistinguishable
As our outrage putters out in a single news cycle
And we sleep to forget our waking nightmares.

Don’t worry for our leaders are here to protect us
Save us from a far worse fate
Let their words soothe you and dull your senses
As they lead you blissfully unaware
To the butchers table.

The sycophants folly

Never before has the sycophant’s folly
Been so apparent
Social media provides the platform for idolatry

Never before has the sycophant’s folly
Been so apparent
Social media provides the platform for idolatry
To lavish faint praise
Bend the knee for all to see
And extoll
If you squint your eye a certain way
Your leaders’ exemplary virtues.

Businessmen, lobbyists, advisors and supporters
Where age has no bounds
Flocking to surround
Playing at vanity and ego
Pecking away at true discourse
Pecking away at all sense of morality
Of decency and principle.

Uncomfortable truths be dammed
In the hope to receive
Tiny morsels and treats
To enter the hallowed inner circle
For mateship and men’s club privileges abound
No matter how briefly.

Do you know what this grab for money
The soulless pursuit of greed will achieve?
When those in power do not receive
The guidance that they so sorely need
Without accountability and transparency
The emperor remains oblivious of his scant clothing.

And at this time of crisis
The sycophant’s folly
Will ultimately be
All our bane
For who bares the true cost in our society?
The privileged haves or the invisible have nots?
With an environment in ruin
Social services run down
And hundreds of elderly dead for no reason
But incompetence
Our humanity lost in the news cycle.

And to our leaders
Focused on marketing and spin
Whispering sweet nothings to untrained ears
Giving away worthless glistening trinkets dazzling the eyes…

Let’s let them know
For it’s time to expose
That the emperor
It’s plain to see
He has quite simply
No clothes.

Domestic Violence and Homeless Study

What do we know about the domestic violence situation of people who are also homeless? What other issues do they deal with? Can we improve support methods?

What do we know about the domestic violence situation of people who are also homeless? What other issues do they deal with? Can we improve support methods?

Jewish House collected and analysed 774 clients in a recently released study during Homelessness Week.

In the age of COVID this situation is only going to become more acute. Housing stress will affect more and more individuals and families. How can our support services – already stretched to the limit cope? How will government agencies and NFP’s successfully prioritise? Having better tools to understand the risk of homelessness will be key. That’s a journey that Jewish House is on.

Media release on study:

This is a video on domestic violence and homelessness I produced for Jewish House.

Morning’s awakening

Sitting quietly
Taking in morning’s awakening
Listening to the world
As it slowly comes to life.

Homelessness Week 2-7th August 2020
Sitting quietly
Taking in morning’s awakening
Listening to the world
As it slowly comes to life.

Taking in the aroma
Of fresh coffee brewing
And intoxicating aromas of bread baking
Just right.

I sit
Carefully reading
Today's crumpled paper.
News that matters little
In my humble
And simple life.

Footsteps echo
With furtive glances
Of daily commuters
Scurrying by.
Looking down
With pity
In their eyes.

Senses on autopilot
Simply unaware
Of the rapturous moment.
This precious time.

Sitting quietly
Taking in morning’s awakening
Listening to the world
As it slowly comes to life.


I traced your fingers in the air

My fingers achingly trace a path in the air
My fingers achingly
Trace a path in the air
Imagining your fingertips
Touching tentatively
A fleeting apparition
No longer there.

Spoken word on Covid-19. Its easy to forget how blase we were all about this before X-mas when it was something happening in a far away land. Now the whole world has been turned upside down.

I used stock video from Pexels site which I made black & white and added a number of effects in Adobe Premiere Pro. I liked how it started and ended with the same footage, but with the ending in colour.

The music was Royalty free music from https://www.fesliyanstudios.com which I treated in Adobe Audition to add effects such as coughing and laboured breathing… I hope I didn’t overdo that!

The poem was written over a few weeks as I tried to figure out what message I wanted to give. I guess I opted for realism. The future is uncertain and we can all hope and pray for the best. Hopefully, we’ll all learn from this and become a fairer and just society.

Take care of yourselves and your families!

Let me sleep until the dawn

Help me please to conquer my terror,
Let me sleep undisturbed until the dawn.
Listening intently at floorboards creaking,
Of staggering footsteps as the near my door.

Help me please to conquer my terror,
Let me sleep undisturbed until the dawn.
Listening intently at floorboards creaking,
Of staggering footsteps as they near my door.

Knowing ultimately what comes next,
Will shame me so completely, to my core.
For the pain and anguish that will follow,
To be locked up, put away forevermore.

Does my wretched life mean so little?
Can you not hear beyond your walls?
Please look at me. Save me.
Why can’t you believe what I said before?

Does your inaction have any justification?
Do you all not see me and my cause?
My life destroyed. My future now uncertain.
Please tell me, what’s my recourse?

©Vinod Ralh. 2019. All rights reserved.

Written to promote the CAPSau Safe Children Conference.

Can we make the invisible visible?

Can we make the invisible visible?

Our downtrodden

Trembling masses

Casting their waning shadows

On forgotten plains

Our near silent

Our near vanquished majority

Our shameful oversight

Hidden with our tacit knowledge

In plain view

Living on the borderline

Our most shirked

Our most forgotten

Fellow man



Woeful creatures

Rooted unbeknownst

To a fractured and dimming spotlight.

Can we not just shine

Just for an instant

A piercing

Penetrating beam

Into the recesses

The crooks and crannies

And truly see

Not glazing over

The uncomfortable truths

Of our oh so comfortable lives?

If we had the slightest inclination

Could we not draw our collective breath

Inhale a little more deeply

And exhale a defiant challenge to our status quo

One that now so obviously benefits our elites

Our carefully manicured role models

Born to fortunate privilege

Primping and preening

Believing it was their talent

And not their postcode

Those who walk in wilful ignorance

Seemingly across water

But if you took the time

And peered closely

You would see

That this is on the arched backs

Of our drowning brothers and sisters

Asphyxiating in a system corrupted

No longer a meritocracy

No longer part of our vocabulary

Perhaps it never was…

Corporate greed is now our mantra

Our secret state

Profits at exponential rates

Inflation pressures we’re told

Must keep wages down

Out of reach of common man

While they wallow in their big fat juicy bonuses

At the top end of town

Peddling a perverse, inverse stew

Of capitalist socialism

Peddling us false prophets and propaganda

The pinnacle of populist views

Shamelessly, triumphantly echoes

“What’s in it for me?”

Where sowing fear and distrust of strangers

Left from right

Black from white

Race and religion

Is the new regime

What’s in vogue

Our new status quo.

As if there is no other honourable way

That being poor means you need to be punished

That instead of sharing the spoils

For your own good

When you are down

We will not pick you up

We will not help you

We will beat you into a final submission

For you are not worthy

You in your miserable state

We will smite you

We will shame you

We will subjugate you

We will fuck you when you are down

Simply we don’t give a shit

Who sees

Who knows

We are untouchable

For we wear the crown.

We could draw a line

If willing

We could wake

If willing

Challenge our indoctrination

Turn off mass media

Owned by billionaires

That numbs our senses

Hysterical infotainment parading

Thinly as news

Desensitising our minds

Falling into a stupor

Leaning further and further

To an alternative point of view

Playing into capricious goals

Of a skewed, racist agenda

A horrendous dystopian view of reality

An Orwellian state in the making.

All in the name of progress and equity

Because that is the American way

Our brothers in arms

Our star spangled role model


The poor wannabe

The fifty first state

A lapdog

Leaving behind all sense of decency

All sense of morality

For what

To bask in the shadow of another’s making

To catch the snacks that fall on the floor

For what?

To be their slaves?

No more.

Let me tell you of the everyday Australian

In our vernacular –

The fictitious honest battler

Let us keep their stories alive

Let us hold them ever so briefly in your minds eye

Shine brightly

Our beacon

To illuminate

Get close

Smell their desperation and despair

And use our teeth

To snap

To bite




And eventually


The knots that bind our fallacies

Our inbred prejudices

Our intemperance

Of those not worthy of our might.

Let us hold ourselves accountable for our intolerance

Our scorn

Our ridicule

Our unwillingness to accentuate

Their unfair

Pitiful plight

Let me tell you of their story

But let me ensure it is not simply a flight of fancy

Easily dismissed

Fingers snapped

In an instant due to naive simplicity

The optimism of our youth

But something oh so grounded

In a brutal


Visceral reality

An awful chilling

Heartbreaking tragedy

An unending brutality

That surrounds

So pitifully

So many

In their unfair


Everyday lives.

Can you imagine that in our lucky country

Full of overflowing riches

One in eight

Of our brothers and sisters

Live in intolerable subsistence

Below that shrieking, shameful poverty line

That in this land down under

We have a tale

Of haves and have-nots

Thirteen unlucky percent

Do not unfortunately share

Its embarrassingly rich bountiful fare

And to add to that injustice

One in six children

Share that miserable fate

A dire and destitute state.

And if your skin is black

And if your only sin is to be born Into a sunburnt land

Born as one from our First Nation

Then that shocking number escalates

Shatters records and shoots to

Thirty percent

It’s incomprehensible

Beyond comprehension.

And then to pour further fuel to a beaker that is already full

Let me take away our most precious commodity

What should be all of ours inalienable right

By taking away a precious gift

A span of ten years from an inglorious, unfair existence

Our people

From the First Nation

Born to fail

Bereft of the gift of life

Quickly and quietly dispensed.

And where do we house our invisible?

How do we sweep them out of plain sight?

Giving them no realistic option

But to live on the fringes

In distant urban dwellings

In sleepy country towns

Far from opportunity

To live below the poverty line

Many eeking out a meagre existence

Challenging them to find

Safe harbour

Where out of twenty-four thousand homes around Sydney

Only fifty are affordable

For a family on the borderline

Just fifty.

Putting all on Newstart

Regardless of age, health or family

Soul destroying politicians

Cynically peddling bullshit

A false

And evil ideology

That their amounts are fair

Indexed with inflation

Punishment with perpetual poverty

A shame they must continually bear.

And in the same breath

Voting though their shameful pay rises

Perks and bonuses

Tax cuts for those that don’t need it

Leading us all into oblivion

Corporate greed at its finest

Our final solution

Perpetuating a cycle

With major inequalities


Built into the very fabric of Australian society.

Can we make the invisible visible?

Yes we can


Only if we are willing

To open our eyes

Only if we have the will

And the way

Only if we finally

Finally chose to look

And not look away

To say enough is enough

For a time will come

Where we must all pull together

To save our land

To save our planet

From our shameful history

Our indulgences

That has raped and pillaged

This land

Heartbreaking mismanagement.

Otherwise I propose

That we will all vanish

Screaming and scratching

In pain and agony

Sliding into the blackness of despair

Realising only on the way down

That we too will vanish

Vanish into the bleak and bleary night


©Vinod Ralh. 2019