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Home Food for Thought Poems Ode to the Woe of a Dying Princess

Ode to the Woe of a Dying Princess

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Poem and drawing by Tony Fernandes
(click on picture for a larger view)

It seems paradoxical that a vessel with a name ‘River Princess’ gets so little attention while she still lies there motionless, waiting to be salvaged, after being abandoned off Candolim beach for more than half a decade. So far the government has done nothing serious enough to get it out. Fervent pleas by locals have fallen on deaf ears. The scale and magnitude of the damage to marine life, and pollution to the beach itself that could occur should this princess eventually fall apart, is unconceivable. Here’s an ode dedicated to the woe of a dying princess.


Abandoned by callous crew,
heartless owner, cruel master;
Helplessly I wander
And upon the sandy ocean floor,
I finally surrender.

An abandoned princess,
Now breathless,
Once the pride of the seas, a legend,
Here I now lie,
Weakened and orphaned.

Familiar faces of visitors every year on the beach I see
Happy folks stare at me, some with dismay, others with glee,
Tourists! Am I a butt of your jokes?
Are you laughing at me secretly?

Through no fault of my own I still languish here,
Yes, you there, I’m aware,
Did you not have more hair
When you were around here last year?

Saw you five years ago I do recall,
Seems you are having a ball,
Then you had one in tow,
Now you are back here with four,
Never mind but now you look much older though.

An old man, long ago, I must confess,
Seemed to share my distress,
Strolled everyday along the shore;
Where is he now I wonder, I see him no more.

Motionless as he stood there,
He wished me luck I could tell
With his eyes fixed in my direction
I guess he had for me a great affection.

He wished he could have me in tow
With his boat and float me offshore.
Something tells me
He must have once been a seaman
At the time he seemed frail,
Wherever he is now, I hope he’s well.


Tenders floated, pockets bloated,
Palms greased, work ceased,
Valuables plundered, hopes battered,
Money and time wasted,
Now no one is bothered.

Salvage companies: fleeced and vanished,
Negotiations, deliberations: went unabated,
World’s top holiday destination: Duh! I’m impressed!
But that a dying princess cannot be saved: I’m deeply distressed.

Tony Fernandes

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