Whitlam Institute

What Matters 2019 Shortlist

What Matters 2019 Shortlist



Winner Artistic Merit

Joseph Assaf

Year 6, Redfield College

P. O. V. E. R. T.


Today, millions sigh

P. O. V. E. R. T.                                                               


Looking down, deep breath

Nobody understands

Pain, struggle, desperation

Face in their hands.

Poverty is more than money

It is more than being broke

Poverty is loneliness

Words they never spoke.

Today, millions cry

P. O. V. E. R. T.


Hungry and thirsty

No tears left to fall

Starving for friendship,

But love most of all.

Poverty is cold

It does not discriminate

It's black, it's white it's young, it's old

Such a heavyweight.

Today, millions die

P. O. V. E. R. T.


Giving up, giving in

Surrendering is near

Will it ever end?

The failure, the famine, the fear.

Poverty is longing

Loss of hope and dreams

A lack of education

It's never only what it seems.

Today, millions lie

P. O. V. E. R. T.


Happy face, joyful words

Beaming, smiling eyes

But deep inside, we all know

It's all just a disguise.

Poverty is deceiving

Leaves a nasty scar

Makes some people wonder

Who these people are.

Today, millions wander by

P. O. V. E. R. T.


We close our eyes, block our ears

Turn the other way

Hoping, wishing, praying

That it will go away.

Poverty is hidden

Silence, injustice, shame

This forms our society

But who is to blame?

Today, millions comply

P. O. V. E. R. T.


Accepting their condition

Living by the rules

Bowing down to those in power

Being treated just like fools.

Poverty is pessimism,

The thing that brings them down

Where happiness is shadowed

Where their courage drowns.

Today millions buy

P. O. V. E. R. T.


People spending money

Not thinking about tomorrow

What will the future hold?

Happiness or sorrow.

Poverty is not knowing

It's feeling that others don't care

It's everything and nothing

It's sadness and despair.

Today, my hope is that millions will try


Because poverty is many things

But acceptable it is not

I think about it all the time

I really do a lot.

If we just make a choice each day,

To do one simple thing

To change the life of one in need

So much happiness it would bring.

A vision, a dream, a hope for all

To rebuild a life in tatters

It's not a myth, not just a poem

Because poverty truly matters.

So I ask you all again

With one last heavy sigh