Whitlam Institute

What Matters 2019 Shortlist

What Matters 2019 Shortlist

Our Mother

Our Mother

Femke Keywood

Year 11, Holy Spirit College

As a babe, she welcomed you into the world,

She gave you all you could ever need,

The rich forests and plentiful oceans,

Colourful creatures and blue skies,

And while young, you rejoiced in her all-giving splendours,

But then...

It was not enough.

Fixated with wanting more,

Power, wealth, status,

Even though without she would still love you,

You devastated her land,

Pushed her from your life,

And replaced her life-giving gifts with yours,

Construction and civilisation polluted the air,

Soon her health became dimmer,

As green became smothered with grey.

Her breath thickened,

And most nights she coughs with discomfort.

But yet, despite her illness,

She tries to rock you to sleep,

She tries to feed you when you hunger,

She tries to fill your glass with clean water,

But she cannot help that,

She may no longer be able to promise restful nights

As her coughing fills the once peaceful air,

She may no longer be able to provide you with food

As her land becomes barren,

She may no longer be able to find you fresh water

As you continue to pollute her sources.

She tried, but now she is tired.

And as her lungs continue to weaken,

She will still call out your name,

Begging you to help cure her.

But you don't listen,

You choose not to listen.

Even when she weeps,

As the rain pelts on your glass window,

You still do not want to see,

Even when she howls,

As the wind beats against your door,

You still do not want to hear,

Even when she booms,

As the thunder rolls over your head,

You still choose to close your ears,

Even when she chokes,

As the smoke fills the air that is her lungs,

You still do not want to tell,

The pain,

The hurt,

The suffering that she feels.

As time goes on, she becomes desperate,

Her loving nature is replaced with violence,

Shaking you awake in the dead of night,


Please, please my child look at me,

See me,

As the mighty wave engulfs you, 

Hear me,

As the storm deafens your ears,  

Feel me,

As the ground trembles beneath your feet.

Wake up and open your eyes,

For I am dying,

And I have no choice but to bring you along with me,

Whenever how suddenly that may be.

But you do have a choice,

You do have time,

Although short,

To fix her.

To mend her broken lungs,

By mending your broken ways,

By loving her as she loves you,

Although hard,

Do it for you,

Do it for us,

Do it for our mother,


Because she matters.