Solli Raphael reflects on his poem 'White Box Rise' for POEM FOREST 2021.
I recently hiked a track on the mid-north coast of NSW, where I grew up. It’s a beautiful track that climbs through a forest of majestic white box, some of which are 400 years old. I used to hike this particular track when I was younger, but it had been ten years since I last visited.
As I hiked through memories, I reflected on all that had happened in the decade that past; the bustling city streets, big crowds, the many places my career as an author and poet had taken me thus far, coming back to the present moment of complete silence. In that moment, I realised that everything I had done and achieved meant absolutely everything and nothing at the same time. These trees know no time, only life and connection.
I love eucalypts for many reasons; their medicinal elements, connection with ancient ancestors, and their tall nature. I wanted to represent this beautiful species through poetry.
As a youth coach and young person with a voice in the media, I often wonder how young people (including myself) can reach their full potential. Prior to writing ‘White Box Rise’, I thought about the white box; their instincts to rise from the ground and similarities to people.
White box, rise, neither influenced by pressure, nor because there is a trophy at the top, recognition, or money. But because that’s all they know to do – their very existence. If people rose and journeyed through life following what we love and merely using external factors to our advantage, maybe we would become like the white box, and live at the heights of fulfilment, contentment, and existence.