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.

Digital Humans – Cardiac Health Coach

We live in a world
Where cardiovascular disease
Of the heart and arteries
Is our countries greatest killer

An important story about cardiovascular disease – our nations greatest killer, health illiteracy and approaches to achieve equity for disadvantaged communities using digital humans. 

I really enjoyed creating this video and collaborating with Marie Johnson on the concept. It was quite a complex topic and there was a lot to say and it was a challenge to fit it all in without loosing some of the key messages.

The poem originally had a couple of stanza’s that talked about a person who had heart disease but I had to take it out as the video was getting too long.

I can’t help but catch myself
grimace at this stranger’s reflection
My eyes cannot pull away
Drawn to the violent scar still tender
That runs riot down my chest
eight weeks
Since my life changed so dramatically
Yet By some miracle
A fortuitous twist of fate
I’m still here
Staring at my reflection.
I open the cabinet door
Greeted with an endless stream
Of indistinguishable pillboxes
I feel my chest constrain
A shortness of breath
Panic and anxiety
When realisation of my tenuous existence
Dawns on me again.
My eyes fix on indecipherable terms
As I reach for half remembered medicines
Vague recollections from doctors
During  hurried talks
Time for My daily lottery draw
Have I chosen them correctly?
I simply do not know.
I grab my phone
And point in my pills general direction
Which is my blood pressure one?
My cardiac coach – it responds.
We live in a world
Where cardiovascular disease 
Of the heart and arteries
Is our countries greatest killer
A disease affecting countless millions
And costing our nation billions
With numbers that inexorably rise
With this WHO declared pandemic.
An unfair disease
Targeting our most vulnerable
People of disability or different ethnicities
Remain invisible.
Women not taken seriously
Are half as likely
To receive much needed treatment
With death rates double
Of what would be parity.
Time poor clinicians
Fail to communicate
To traumatised patients
Full of fear, frustration, and anxiety
The severity of
Their complex interventions
As health illiteracy
The public’s average reading age
Makes their scientific terms
An eight-minute sprint
To explain all that is needed
In your new regime
Cannot be processed
But patient discharge
Is the name of the game
And the clock
Is ticking.
But what of the consequences?
We see staggeringly high
Deaths and readmission rates
That remain the leading cause
Of medical litigation.
And now Covid19
Mercilessly has had its own impact
With chronic patients
Left to fend for themselves
Or too afraid
To get desperately needed aid.
As pandemics join forces
Setting us on
A far more hopeless trajectory.
How do we help people
Who do not understand the basics?
Who feel they’re asking stupid questions?
That we give them
The time and the space they need
To be there when there is indecision?
How do we help people
Not fall of a cliff
When discharged
To learn new skills and behaviours
To manage their health, their medication?
To live healthy lives?
To have the patience of a saint
Build trust and rapport
And change the rules of the game.
Imagine a world
Where you had your own personal coach
One that understood the heath domain
That spoke like you
That understood
Your cultures intricacies
And could answer common questions
That tirelessly dealt with repetition
To help you make more informed decisions.
Your digital coach
Focused on cardiovascular disease
Backed by a corpus of knowledge
Machine learning trained with 10’s of 1000’s of questions
Co-designed with the lived experience
That spoke to you
And I
Like a human.
Imagine a world
That overcame these barriers
Where through prevention and understanding
We reduce death rates and destruction
Where we help people not just survive…
But live and thrive.
Imagine a world
Where the cardiac coach
Is but the first of many
Where we build open source ecosystems
And new industries
That champion holistic wellbeing.
Imagine a cardiac coach
That helps those
Facing their own mortality.
Help alleviates
Their sense of fear and abandonment
That gives back some control
Some independence and dignity
And helps them face
Head on
Their own personal adversity.

Sweet memories

Do you ever
Reminisce of childhood past
A cherished memory
That you return to
A touchstone
To reorient
To draw strength
And love
That transcends all boundaries
Of space and time
That rejuvenates
The magic of yesteryear
I feel again in my heart
I remember
As I play alone
Golden rays of sunshine
gladly invade
Smells of my mothers cooking pervade
Life can get no better
A simple
A beautiful
A perfect day.

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.

Insider, Outsider

I’m delighted to share this video from CC&C Solutions. It uses storytelling and describe the challenges facing enterprises embarking on digital disruption, architects and skills gap and service providers needing to move up the value chain. It highlights CC&C’s unique value proposition as a global training and advisory firm.

It’s also my first freelancing engagement as I embarked on a portfolio career. I use my love of poetry, narration, creativity, animation and video production to tell their story in what I hope is an engaging way.

We all need to add mastery of storytelling to our armoury as a key skill of the future!

I’m thankful to the wonderful C C and C Solutions team for trusting me and giving me this opportunity.

If you’re interested in telling your companies story in an inspirational, creative and innovative way, then please reach out.

My dear son

Jordan on his 21st birthday
My dear son...
How does one describe a summer's day?
Trepidation of your arrival 
Our hearts filled to bursting 
Unbridled love and unabashed joy
The sheer exhilaration of knowing 
That you were coming home to stay.

My dear son...
How does one describe a ray of sunshine? 
Your merry eyes
Squeals of innocent laughter 
Warm cheeks and face all a glow
The centre of our universe from that day.

My dear son...
How does one describe love?
What kind of brother have you become?
Leading your siblings on a merry dance
Goading them on occasion while in command
The best one they could imagine.

My dear son...
How does one describe you now?
Tears fill my eyes
My heart breaks with pride and love
To see who you’ve become
With a purview filled with conviction and compassion 
For a better man is made
Though I wonder why Togepi does pervade!?!

My dear son...
How does one describe time?
As your destiny awaits?
A leader in the making
Your future for the seizing
And a life to be made
Your faith and love of God will keep you steady
And your moral code will set you rightly on your way.

My dear son.

Love always, on your 21st birthday. Vinod. 21 May 2020

I traced your fingers in the air (A COVID-19 poem)

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.
So inconsequentially it began
Yet another far off disease
Affecting others overseas
Drowned out by incessant noise
Dismissed by the humdrum of every day living
A second thought not given.
But slowly it took over lives
Incessantly the news focused on the pandemic
The growing horror overseas
A drumbeat growing louder and louder
The spectre  of death
Harder to ignore
Finally capturing our imagination.
And then suddenly it was upon us
Our politicians fumbling and stumbling
Posturing and prevaricating
Ignoring the playbook of epidemics
Putting off the hard decisions
Consigning our fate
Because of the lack of balls.
In the face of divided opinion
We did what we did best
With false feelings of invincibility
We carried on as we had
Oblivious to the facts
Living the lie of wishful thinking
And so a new regime finally began
One of working from home
With great uncertainty of the future
Livelihoods shattered in an instant
Now playing at social isolation
Against a silent killer
One that wore no mask at all.
A temperature was how it started
Another man flu we hoped and prayed
But after day three the truth was out, it turned
Breathing more laboured
A constant fever soared
Coughing fits became the norm.
I don't recall how I got here
Alone and away from all I love and care
I drift in and out of sleep
And for the last time
In my mind
I trace your fingers in the air...

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.