Whitlam Institute

What Matters 2019 Shortlist

What Matters 2019 Shortlist



Darsh Chauhan

Year 12, Melbourne High School

What matters

Is everything that does.

At dawn: your visage metamorphosizes each day in turn, as you rise to face

The dewy music of the grass and of the day, and today's race.

What can you, what will you make

Of the stakes that you might claim?

The auric beaming from your dreaming emblemizes your drive, your success

the power you possess- to create change.

The power to empower, a force to be reckoned with

awakes within you when your goals hatch,

like chickens to them you latch.

You are youthful- bold and unafraid

You wish to grow, to expand,

to traverse the paths that the land might offer you

Before it's too late.

Time is yet on your side, so sit down and hush,

For life is not a slide to be rolled down in a rush.

Rather, it is a pirouette, a dance of a kind;

Spin too quickly and you might forget

To remember

To not


And so you journey through life, stopping along the way to

Aspire until you inspire,

Living, loving, kissing, crying and dying (of laughter of course)

Negotiating the highs of blissful paradise and the pain of sobering remorse.

Who can halt you- you, you unstoppable force?

And then you meet them. Their beauty radiates, they are

A simmering sapphire in the soaring sun.

You analyse, you fantasize, romanticize for some dozen years.

And then you wed, 'til death do you part

You are to give them your heart,

And they will do the same.

Then the mirth of a birth elates you,

It brings you a perpetual joy no-one could destroy.

And your creation opens the doors to a new world,

Expanding the vivacity of your new-found perspicacity.

But you are not done yet.

No, you are still energized, for though time has passed

Those goals have amassed, and you must conquer them,


Now you run through it all.

Time has taken its toll- you have swapped health for wealth

And as the years only accumulate, you wish to jubilate over what this life has granted you.

Until one day you sense the moment,

The beginning of the end.

Your family, your enemies, your acquaintances

All join forces to become your friend.

As you lay there thinking,

Thinking your last thoughts

Knowing full well that when your time came

You could sleep, once and for all,

Without pain.

And then it came.

And you were no more,

The void embraced you

Into its dark nothingness.

And there you shall remain.

And yet, all in vain, for after you left,

All remained the same.


What mattered wasn't you.

What mattered wasn't what goals you achieved.

What mattered was what you could do for those who needed you.

My pleading, begging voice on the other side of the world,

The cries of anguish, of desperation.

Of helplessness you could have helped.

And you didn't do a thing.

Is it out of mind because it is out of sight?

What with your ambitions,

Nearly all of which came to fruition,

You may as well have been blind.

What mattered

Was what you could do for me.

For them.

Here I am, surrounded by poverty- all I have ever known,

And all I will ever know.

I long for the taste of water to quench my thirst,

For food to fill my belly,

For the feeling of standing and walking without pain.

For, like you, I too am to die,

But at the ripe old age of