Solli Raphael, the youngest ever winner of the Australian Poetry Slam delivered a touching, deep and compelling message during an encore on the stage of the Sydney Opera House on the 15th of October 2017.
If you haven't yet heard his poem, take two minutes to watch him in action below:
Solli is only 12 years old, but that’s not the most impressive thing.
His powerful poem talks about how every single one of us can put a significant change in place to make a difference. And it all starts with breathing. Breathing is what allows us to relieve tension, anxiety, and to make decisions that aren't based on fear. This is veeeeery important. Why? Fear is what prevents us from seeing the reason why things happen. It stops us from trying to truely understand people, cutting down superficial and generic judgements. If we don't act on fear and go deeper to find out a persons motives, we discover that our enemies (or “our rivals”) are not that different from us. We are just human beings, and under the same circumstances we might have taken the same path, no matter how bad it looks. Because of fear.
And here lies the real greatness of this little poet. Showing respect, understanding and compassion for your enemy is not something you would expect from a 12 year old. Many adults cannot even get close to this concept, and they prefer to indulge into retaliation instead of forgiveness. Because it’s easier, it takes way less strength and courage. Solli Raphael’s poetry’s meaning is very mature and, despite his young age, he’s reminding us when we can make a difference - when we care.
His message is clear:
Don't be afraid, breathe. If we hold on to each other we can make a difference, no matter how hard the path can be.
Thanks Solli, for your precious reminder.
Picture credits go to Clare Hawley