Myriam – independence a foreign state

A life without her dignity,
Without expression of her own unique identity,
Independence a foreign state

For forty years she had endured

For this had been her constant state

Subjugation her present fate

A life without

A life without her dignity

Without expression of her own unique identity

Independence a foreign state

Voice stolen

Half living


Flickering in the shadows

A life without a cause

With a history steeped in years of indoctrinating tradition

Conditioned to merely obey

The role of a woman

Of duty.

At home.

To stay.

There is no end to her husband’s torment

Her lord and master’s shrieking from his majestic throne

And it is from his threadbare and decrepit armchair

One imbued it seems with mystic properties


Emanating dread and fear

For there — the alpha dog sits



With all his arrogance on show.

And so her treatment continues

Oblivious of what’s right

An unequivocal dismissal

Made worse by an unfailing maniacal suspicion

An underlying contempt

Of someone that is not equal

A culture past, that expected submission

A constant demand to justify her inferior position

Ignoring the world outside

One that has moved on

Grasping to a past

A made up fantasy


A fictitious memory


She shakes her head in sorrow and grief

And heavily she sobs

She shudders

Hands taunt in supplication

Reaching upwards

Following a path repeated a hundred times before

Pleading to the heavens for answers

“Why has this been my fate?”

And then a thought

Unbidden… enters…

And does not leave.

“No. No more.”

For now her daughter has fully grown

Safely, forging her own path

Free to explore

Able to make mistakes and missteps her own

Leaving our forlorn protagonist so full of pride

But also so so achingly alone.

Alone to face her nightmares

One that lasts from dawn to dusk

Every waking hour brings acknowledgement


A way of life

Repeating endlessly


No escape.

“No. No more.”

Emboldened by her meek displays

Again he asserts

Again, a refusal of any permission

To simply allow her to wander outdoors alone

“A woman’s place is at home!”

But inside, coalesces a thought

Getting stronger and more certain.

“No. No more!”

A chasm to cross in darkness

One that she had to take alone

Summoning up reserves of strength

That she did not ever know

To renounce her life with her tormentor

To leave her family home

And all her worldly possessions

And their memories of a lifetime ago

To a cold and foreign Australian court

For a simple piece of paper

A stamped piece of officialdom

To file for her divorce.

“Yes. No more.”

So hurriedly with bags packed and nowhere else to go

To her daughter’s did she flee

Her life now perched in limbo

Dependent on a son-in-law indifferent to her cause

An impatience plain to see

Mark his face with troubled countenance

For her untimely imposition

That’s upset the tranquility of her new sanctuary

His home

“How long will your mother be here?” he whispers

“I understand, but I never did agree.”

“I know she is your mother…”

“This long? Really?”

“I have reasonable limits on my charity!”

But even away from home she felt constrained

For her journey was not yet complete

For in the eyes of her religion

She was not yet free

Her angry, ex-husband could justify

That he could lay claim on her

That it was his right

That sanctioned abuse could continue

For in his eyes he still owned her

To do so as he desired.

“But no. No more.”

The next step was the hardest

A painstaking and disagreeable process

That incredulously caused more terror

By putting her in a room again with her tyrant

Treated as a third party

An object for those far brighter

Who knew better

To seal her destiny

And though she nearly did break

Give up



Somehow, somehow

Her quiet voice

Remained firm

Did carry

And her case was finally made

Though it took twelve months for the Imans to grudgingly agree

What was painfully obvious for all to see

That there was no room for reconciliation

Love and duty no more than a fallacy

That the intervention order was real

That finally in God’s eye

She. was. free.

Surviving now on an old aged pension

Scrimping and scraping at the edges of modern society

She cannot afford modest housing

A future uncertain has she.

But it is a life that is now oh so different

At TAFE she helps in English language classes

To help others who face the same perilous journey

To help provide safe passage

To be their shining beacon

Against a darkening landscape

That threatens to stop the faint hearted

From withdrawing from their future

To succumbing

To their perilous fate.

This wonderful woman of the ages

Has found an inner peace

Though fate has made her journey long and arduous

That finally she feels so unfettered

That finally she feels so free.

Oh! Our heroine!

Our inspiration!

Oh gaze upon her now

Our beautiful, independent woman

For her voice has finally been found

As laughter lines now crease her aged face.

As she shares delightful, playful stories with her friends

To break bread

To live what is left of life to its fullest

To battle for her causes

To stand proud and with dignity

And now with her own identity restored

It is time perhaps

For her

To give a little nudge

To what will be her fate.

He wandered his whole life between galaxies

He wandered his whole life between galaxies. Parents, brothers and sisters lost in space.

He wandered his whole life

Between galaxies

Parents, brothers and sister lost in space

They dropped away

Voices silenced

Across the years

Sorrow ever present

Eyes dulled

Their shadows dimming

Fading away one by one

Between countries

Losing out against

Warring tribes committing depraved travesties

Outdoing their own barbarity

For fear continues to be the universal currency

To be bartered and traded with others ignominy.

Years of life crawl so slowly by

At the edge of civilisation

In nowhere land

Behind rusty, wire caged fences

In paltry shanty towns full of strangers

Of ghosts

In a waiting game

In no man’s land

Languishing in uncertainty

In the incessant heat

With swirling dust storms for company

But even though he endures the passage of time

He remains hopeful…

For now

For now he has won the lottery!

For now

Away from his shanty town

To make Australia home!

For there are no wars!

In that strange bountiful land

Where everyone smiles

Until jaws ache

In that land

A land full of kind, white people

A land of cricket, football and “she’ll be right mate”

And so many opportunities


In that oh so lucky country.

But joy in his new home

Soon takes a different turn

That bountiful land

Turns away her grace

And shows a far more insidious face.

The county’s initial embrace,

It’s seductive kiss,

With all its charm

That intoxicated him

That blinded him

Says an untimely farewell

And he is left again with his old friend

An old acquaintance he knows too well


Hope turns to sadness and despair

For as he realises that his new white brothers

Do not feel as he does

And they turn their backs


Shrug their shoulders

And walk away.

Do not fear me”- he cries

Do not cross the road

Because you do not know me

But no one is listening.

“Oh my father, my mother, my dear, darling sister!

Why did you have to leave me?

Why did you abandon me?

For I now have no one

But fear by my side

For I am alone in a world full of strangers.

What is to become of me?”

He cries.

And so he is left alone basking in mediocrity

To start a new life

At the fringes of urban dwelling

Left to languish anew

Scraping at the edges

Hungering now not for food

But for connection

For purpose and meaning

Working for a pittance

His dreams unfulfilled

His potential unseen

Testing his resolve

His resilience

Our wanderer

Our traveller of galaxies.

For the cycle continues

Despite all our good intentions.

A hard yet fulfilled life on the land

A hard yet fulfilled life on the land. Lines etched on his face by hard won gains. Battling against all elements. Against nature’s bane.

A hard yet fulfilled life on the land

Lines etched on his face

By hard won gains

Battling against all elements

Against nature’s bane.

With a farm inherited from his father’s father

With a proud lineage and strong legacy

He is a pillar of the local, rural community

He doesn’t say much

But is always there to support those in need

Our honourable battler.

A harsh Australian outback

A parched corner of the land

In futile search of rain

In constant yearning,

In constant pain.

With cattle in desperate need of feed

Foraging in dusty paddocks

For meagre grasses

That are distant memories

Long gone

They are starving

Sagging skins draping skeletal frames

Disease takes hold

Too late — they can’t be sold!

No option left but culling stock

Too late to remake his lot.

With debt also the way of life

With incessant bills to pay

Mounting up, perilously high

An amount so obscene


On the brink

Threatening to come crashing down

To destroy his life’s work

To take away his crown.

For all of his experience

For all his father taught him

From generations passed knowledge

The practices and ways

The tricks in his kit bag

The wisdom of the age

With slow governmental policies

That sow confusion

With handouts that shame

They are unable to help him face today’s demons

That climate change has unleashed

Nature’s revenge

Unchecked by man

Upon his unwary, tempered land.

And now his façade is slipping

His belief system is faltering

The pressure continues building

His failings are exposed

This strong and unfailing farmer

Has to grudgingly turn to face a truth

A truth that he has tried desperately to stow

That the master of his surroundings

One that he has shaped with his own two bare hands

That represents his essence, his being

That represents his soul

Well that world

That his world

Is slipping through his fingers

Is inexorably crumbling


Turning to dust.

How does he reconcile this new truth with his wife?

That he has to break her faith?

That all that he could do — has been done

That there is no honest answer

That there is no other path to follow

That he has faltered

That he is lost this fight

That he has failed

That he is cast adrift

In that unforgiving, sun-burnt land.

The knot in his chest grows tighter

Sweat drips from his brow

Sleep continues to evade

And it is in those witching hours

In the pitch black of night

The darkness before dawn

When despair is at its zenith

With innermost fears brutally exposed

Ominous rumblings become louder

His thoughts turn to something wretched

Dreadful whispering surround him

Of a final escape from his onslaught.

He dismisses it in a second

But yet

There is a slight delay…

But yet

It sits there just below the surface




Enticing him

Seducing him

Growing at the edges

Biding its time


Offering its warm intoxicating embrace

A final resolution

The bringer of peace

The harbinger of rest

To be rid of his anguish

To take all his troubles away.

Our dear, stoic farmer

So unwittingly close to his own demise

Pondering his potential options

Options that he dare not speak out loud

Because of pride.

“Oh for the love of God!

Oh for the shame!

Another day

Another night

All consuming

More bills to pay!

No end in sight!

It’s never been this bad before

Nothing I do makes a difference!”

He sighs.

And it is in that watershed moment

At his life’s tipping point

Standing at the precipice

Preparing himself

When all is lost

To take a step beyond

To flee this world

To escape his chains.

And it is in that moment

In the stillness of the morning break

Upon lightening skies

In that oh so precious moment

As he watches the sun slowly rise

Dazzling beams reach across the horizon

Casting their golden rays on all to him that is precious

As he hears a trilling birds cry.

It is in that moment

That he remembers

In that grace

That he realises

Where all that is good in life

Envelops him

That he finally makes a decision

That he finally decides.

With great strength and ultimate resolve

With all his character

With love in his eyes

Of a shared history

Of tears, of laughter, of pain and surprise

A lifetime in its making

Against all his training

That a man must follow

His code

With a never seen before openness

His pride exposed to the elements

Laying down his shame


He turns to his wife.


Part of a series of poems on financial inclusion. This one focusing on the drought and the increased rates of suicide in farming communities. Photos edited from unsplash. In the animated video I experimented with motion capture.

Ivy – a domestic violence survivor’s story

An angry fella. His face full of red rage. Full of hate.

An angry fella

His face full of red rage

Full of hate

His rancid, putrid breath

Stinking of cheap whiskey

His rotten, decayed teeth

On full display

His brain shut off

To rhyme or reason

His visceral thoughts

A myopic focus.

Staggering forward in false bravado

He’d pick up his well worn bat

Caressing it’s end in theatrical play

His old trusted friend

His old acquaintance firmly at hand

In prelude

And for devastating effect

He would smile

His all-knowing smile

And with eyes full of malice

Slurring incoherently

“Smash your fucking face”.

Then tensing at his fullest

He would swing that bat

With all his might

In violence, in vengeful hate

The reward for some small slight

That made him remember

Who he was


A pitiful man

Exercising his daemons

His self-loathing

And his terrible ritual would continue


Now a muscle memory

He would slap her bloodied face

Again and again.

And if she did not fall, or cried or moaned or whimpered

Or if she did not cower or crawl away

Or if she did show the fear

Or respect his twisted brain craved

As close to adulation as he came

If she did not do it

His way

If he did not see it

His way

“That bitch”

He would kick her for the justice

He demanded

His way.

And as she laid down in her own blood

And as she laid down in pain

While that pathetic bastard had

His way.

In silence

In her shame…

To take his own anguish away

That angry man

That coward

That wife beater

All the while

Our survivor would pray

Her tears would mix with her blood

Pooling again

On that oh so stained floor

Which had seen this play

Play out this encore



This time though enough was enough

Inside her a barrier

Taunt from years of abuse

Beyond breaking point

Finally snapped

Shattering Into a thousand pieces

And she saw the universal truth

One she had tried so hard

To put aside

To ignore

This dangerous game

He would not stop

Or change

For this was his way

Why he had sought her out in the first place.

For nine times she had left him

And nine times she had returned

Nine incomprehensible times

To us

But not to her

The denier of history

To replicate

Her fate.

This time though

With new resolve

She reached an escape velocity

An escape trajectory


This time she would break free of her shackles

He would not bind her

This time she would not come back

This time

He would not own her

This time

She would be the master

Of her destiny.

So this time she fled

She ran away

Far from her land

Away from her people

Away from her shame

Alone, she would have to start again.

The best years of her life behind her.

To fight for existence

To battle her own demons

To fan her own faltering flame

A future yet uncertain

A life of continuous subsistence

But a life that was free.

But a life full of unknowing

Ill prepared

Not required you see

In ignorance of the economy

Now with white fella’s cards

To dig in their claws

To abuse

To misuse

A new ritual

To bash her another way.

For the cycle continues

Despite all our good intentions.


One of series of stories that were inspired by workshops around financial inclusion I helped organise and run for the Salvos in Australia in Nov 2018 while working for Deloitte’s.

We collaborated with the Salvos, on our national charity day, looking at how to resolve issues related to the stigma and access to Salvos financial services across the five personas, each with complex issues. In this case it was of an individual who was also facing domestic violence.

I’m a bit of a newbie at Unity but I’ve given a go using it for animation, using Mixamo for the character creation and Adobe tools to try to bring these stories to life. I’ve updated the Unity 3D animation with improved models and lighting effects. It’s a step up with what I was able to do with Unity before but I have so much more than I can do!

Poems and videos by Vinod Ralh. 2018. All rights reserved.

Illustrations in video by Jean-Baptiste Vincent. 2018. All rights reserved.
Music in video Life Is by Scott Buckley -

Photos modified from

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