The Institute of non-violence commissioned poet and rapper Luka Lesson to create a poetry video titled: ‘Letter To My Daughter’. 

With music by Sydney Conservatorium Composer James Humberstone and a video shot and edited in Luka’s ancestral home of Rhodes, Greece, the poem is an ode to women, a critique of unhealthy expressions of masculinity and a hopeful prayer for the future.

This collaboration marked the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women – November 25th, 2020, and the 16 Days of Activism that follow this date, as well as the official launch of IoNV.

The poem and video premiered on Luka Lesson and Institute of non-violence’s Facebook pages at 8pm on November 25th. The video is available to share via Facebook or YouTube.


By Luka Lesson

A letter to my daughter


You are the sound of a birds wings unfurling


The twitching of feathers hovering above the shadows


Shimmering light


Reflecting off the waves in the bay of hope


And when you are born


and you grow up


I will have to bring to you a warning


There will be men


who bring shotgun tongues into peaceful houses

who drink just to float with the empty bottles above their own histories

who carry manhood like a dead wolf slain across their shoulders



who say that the shortest distance between two opinions

Is a clenched fist


Who frequent bars just to speak to each other in voices louder than their own demons

No man can shout louder than his demons


My daughter


There will be men


who take maximum credit

For making minimum effort


My daughter

If history teaches us anything


Your great great grand-mother

visits me in dreams


She is always wearing black

She appears to me with the ghosts of women who were stoned in the villages, who were burned in the town squares, abandoned by their husbands or exiled by their fathers, women who had to raise sons, who they knew would one day raise their fists against the town’s daughters.


Η προ προ γιαγια σου


She tells me

every man must face his forefathers sins wilfully, unpack the boxes of the false prophets, unpick the patterns of power, un-ball his fists, decorate his own palms in heritage and humility…


or risk a forced reckoning.


My daughter


I’ve seen my own karma as a man, frozen like a tsunami mid-surge above the roof of our house. I’ve seen the wounded inheritance, the hurt I’ve caused etched beneath my skin, my mistakes sit like sediment heavy in my lungs and I’m still learning how to speak them.


But you

you’re the sound of a bell chiming


the sound of the universe turning in a spiral


And your great great grand-mother visits me in dreams


she’s always wearing black


but she is always turning soil


sowing seeds in the dirt for you


helping us cultivate a clean tomorrow

Commentary on the lyrics