Whitlam Institute

What Matters 2019 Shortlist

What Matters 2019 Shortlist



Sarah Winkler

Year 12

Your world is a bubble,

shining and frail and clean.

Its walls are rainbow veins

inter-webbing to form a shimmering sheen.

When you look out,

you see everything past concave glass,

little things made larger,

imperfections made obscene.

Major irritations made major frustrations

because the world is not perfect,

and you are a victim of its imperfections.

You see everything through screens -

they're telescopes to a reality

you can turn away from.

You see damage and destruction

and then you look for the remote.

Your world is remote

from those worlds shown to you,

you think it's so far away.

You think, “Thank God that won't happen to me.”

You find another distraction.

But your world is a bubble

I want to burst.

The world is your betting table.

Anything you can gamble on.

Anything you can gamble on, you do.

You don't think about the stakes,

don't think about how you're tempting fate

by turning away.

You think about the profit

before the planet,

but you're only thinking of short-term gains.

It comes at a price,

but you can't imagine what it's like to pay.

Your world is paper

and it is paper-thin, thinner, even.

Everything's perfect on paper;

picture-perfect paper bills

and paper screens to cover

the not-paper trees felled.

You live a photshopped life,

a photoshoot of a life

that you can document in albums.

You forget how easy paper burns.

Are you ready for it?

Are you ready, come fire or flood?

Come hell or high water threatening your home

the way you've threatened habitats,

are you ready for that?

When the food chain breaks

because of your appetite

hunting predator and prey to extinction,

when the environment resembles

a demolition site,

are you ready for that?

Or why not face facts, and act?

The future seems bleak,

and it will only get worse.

Your world is a bubble

I want to burst.

Your world is a snowglobe.

You are waiting for the next rain to fall,

for the snowflakes to swirl around you,

for a white Christmas,

a winter wonderland,

but it gets harder to achieve

when ice caps melt.

All that glittering gold that eases your greed

won't give us the future we need.

You cannot eat money.

We need something else.

Your world is a bubble.

I want you to burst through.