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My Grande Dame
by Ranjith Sivaraman

I never felt my legs since six,
And ever loved my lake since then
My boat was my cradle
And my lake was my Grande Dame.

I remember those greener days,
When my lake was pure
And my oar was free
from the floating bottles.

I never felt my legs since six
And ever loved my lake since then.
My boat became my last hope
And bottles became my close friends.

I saved them from my lake
And rowed them to shore
And they told me their story,
Poor fellows were born to be abandoned.

PHOTO: Vembanad Lake by Simianwolverine (2013).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This poem is dedicated to a poor old man, paralyzed below his knees, who collects plastic waste from the Vembanad Lake and other streams of Kumarakom, in Kerala, India. Every day, early in the morning, he hires a small country boat and ventures out to collect plastic, maneuvering using a stick or his oar. He mainly collects plastic bottles that were dumped in the waters. Read about him here.

PHOTO: NS Rajappan, who cleans Vembanad Lake each day to make a living and save the environment. Photo by Nandu KS.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Ranjith Sivaraman is an upcoming poet from Kerala, a beautiful state in India. His poems merge nature imagery, human emotions, and human psychology. Sivaraman’s poems in English have been published in international literature magazines and journals from various locations, including Alberta, Budapest, Essex, London, New York, Indiana, Lisbon, Colorado, California, New Jersey, Tk’emlúps te Secwepemc, Kerala, Texas, Chennai, and Toronto. He was a finalist in the The Voice of Peace anthology competition 2021, organized by the League of Poets. Visit him at ranjithsivaraman.com.