Looking for Hope

By Britney Pham

A poem that reveals a different perspective when read backwards line by line

“I know I can change the world.”
Is a statement I am skeptical about.
My response to these unprecedented circumstances have little impact
Deaths in the thousands rise each day, unmitigated
The environment I live in is static; bureaucratic to the degree of dwarfed decision making
I would have to be incredibly oblivious to believe
My voice and aims for youth empowerment actually matters
So despite misleading media, I have to remind myself:
Rather than
I will always look first for:
Cynical arguments behind scientific breakthroughs
Theories built upon foundations of skepticism
It is time to ignore those who preach about
The power of compassion
I believe in planning, in logic, in function, in
Individual action
I need more than
People telling me my solutions to global disparity are far fetched
It is difficult to take to heart
“I am the future.”

“Your fear is invalid.”
Trust that I will never say
There is a problem with the system.
You have questions that do not need to be answered
It is a complete lie that
You should be moved by the statistics you are exposed to
Deaths from the coronavirus are on the rise
63,139 new COVID-19 transmission cases go unaddressed on Mother’s day
At least 450,000 health care workers infected by June, globally

Your feeling of helplessness is irrational
Do not believe those who say that
Hope is the answer
Instead you need
A rigid stoicism
You have no need for this negativity, for
A change in mindset is necessary
“Do not put your faith in dying hands, since time is running out.”

“We are just teenagers.”
We can no longer accept that
Our plans for graduation balls and ceremonies will come to fruition
Our aspirations to find a work-life balance will be achieved
Our academic ambitions will be recognised
Since we are fueled by strong emotions:
We radiate power:
It is irrefutable that
Fleeting desires as a result of naive decisions blind us
We would be mistaken in believing that
Our voices are an amalgamation of potential
We have little experience in managing this fluctuating economy
We have little comprehension of the formation of policies in our own countries
We have little awareness of the lack of equity in global health and welfare schemes
And yet it is still not our fault that
The world succumbs to the unreasonable narcissism of our generation
By no means should a person agree that
“The future is and belongs in our hands.”


Farzan, A 2020, ‘Coronavirus has infected at least 450,000 health-care workers worldwide, report says’, The Washington Post, 4 June, viewed 6 June 2020, .

Statista 2020, Number of new cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) worldwide from January 23 to June 22, 2020, by day, viewed 22 June 2020, .

About the author:

Britney Pham is from Presbyterian Ladies’ College, Melbourne. As a Literature student, she is delighted to have had the opportunity to fuse her love for poetry with a challenge that encourages writers to reflect on their experiences during the current pandemic. This year has certainly been a year for the renewal and readjustment of mindsets, and she has hope that our endeavours as a global community will continue to promote inclusive leadership and justice.

About The Author

Co-President, Harvard Tech Review

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