Darren Lee


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2021 Personal Pandemic Poetry Series  

Each poem reflects Darren Lee's personal experience with the pandemic while being a student at La Trobe University. Also, there is a theme to each particular group of poems. 

D Series  
2021 Opinion Piece

This piece of writing is the artist’s experience with the pandemic and personal thoughts on humility. 


My Whys and Wind Burn 

My Boi

This series of poems are personal words from the artist Darren Lee and tribute to his dear brother, Daniel Taylor. To what it means to be a student at La Trobe University in 2021. 

2021 Opinion Piece Analysis.

The Covid-19 pandemic has a collective experience of the 21st Century. Everyone has been affected by some small factor that is financial, social, physically and spiritually.


Unfortunately, the world has yet to experience the aftereffects of the pandemic that could relate to people's mental health, relationships, and financial security.

The lockdowns, isolation and social distancing have separated us into a bubble that shows our true nature and vulnerabilities as a species. By nature, I am implying that we are social creatures yearning for others to validate our sense of belonging. We get quickly bored in the Digital Age, where the world is reachable within a pocket. But when was the last time we looked at ourselves and thought how fortunate we are, or it could have been worse?

At the beginning of 2020, I was living in Melbourne and worked at a small local cafe. My sister flew from the United Kingdom for a family visit. Then, in a sudden period, everything changed. Less than a week in Australia, my sister had to pass through America to get back to her home because borders were closed in Southeast Asia and the Middle East. Next, I had my first time experience with Centrelink after losing my job.

Still, I felt fortunate. I had the experience of universal basic income from Centrelink to pay for my rent and groceries. In addition, being a student at La Trobe University kept me mentally focused during the lockdowns. Although, I do empathise with the small businesses and families who had housing mortgages.


Yet, I thought the whole lockdown experience differently. To me, the lockdown was the perfect control experiment. I rekindled the people I hadn't talked in a while. According to Socrates, "The unexamined life is not worth living." So, I took the opportunity to know myself to develop myself from my past mistakes.


My narrative was positive during the start and middle of 2020. I became disciplined during the Melbourne lockdowns. I managed to lose 20kg of my weight and felt the best version of myself. Honestly, I truly felt invincible. Melbourne was opening up, and the lockdown was over at the end of 2020.


On 12th December 2020, I found out my best friend since kindergarten, Dan Taylor, unfortunately passed away after we were hanging out a few days before he passed.


No words could describe those feelings of loss but also the camaraderie of love for Dan. People from every state of Australia visited the small town of Moe that Dan and I both grew up, met and were born in the same hospital.


These extraordinary people had the same beautiful smile and laughter that he once had. We embraced with warmth and shed tears. Dan's tales always made me love and appreciate how unique he indeed was. He wasn't just my boi but everyone elses'.


He had the kindest of hearts who would always stop and pick up for a hitch hiker, go out of his way to pick up a flying plastic bag on the road. Make you laugh in the optimistic way possible because he was always like that.


The extraordinary people, his family and I celebrated his life on New Year's Eve and said our farewell.


That was ten months ago. Now, I will say that I do not feel invincible as I was before. Instead, I gained back 20kg of my 2020 progress and laughed at how I have been humbled. Thanks, Socrates.

However, perhaps this is the moral of my account that I wish to share with you. The day I found the tragic news of Dan's death, my boi, I promised myself and said, "I am not going to be broken by Dan's death. Instead, I am going to be better."


I decided not to delay my university education in 2021 because I knew that if I did that would make the tragedy more disheartening for what I understand what I mean to my brother and what he means to me.

I try not to view myself as a victim of circumstance but as a person who tries to face challenges trying to find the good in the bad. The weight I carry mentally and physically is only temporary. The weight I've gained is part of the healing process and my unhealthy newfound love for sourdough bread and butter. Damn, so good!


Everything is a matter of perspective. And I do think that humility helps us appreciate our views on the little things that truly matter: the people, the artworks and the little things in life.


Life is short and beautiful.  So enjoy and make the moments that matter in the positives than see the negatives as a challenge.


I love you and thank you for reading.





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My name is Darren, and I am a third-year student studying for a Bachelor of Arts with a double major in Philosophy and Creative Writing.  

The mediums that I will be showing in La Trobe's Art Festival will be my poems, images that express my creative voice and thoughts. Unfortunately, the 21st Century pandemic has taken its toll on me physically, mentally, spiritually and financially. Fortunately, being a philosophy and art student, I am fortunate to understand myself and others in this pandemic to grow as an individual about the importance of community, art and loving oneself. To make the best of what we can as an opportunity and not simply focus on the negatives. After the Art's Festival, I will refine my passions, focus, and voice to contribute my artistic expression and critical thought to help others and culture.