Saturday 28 November 2015

Blog Tour: A Wicked Old Woman

Today I’m welcoming Ravinder Randhawa to the blog for the tour for A Wicked Old Woman!

A Wicked Old Woman is full of passionate and bruised women, buffeted by life, are also intelligent, caring and powerful. Here are some poems that just seem to fit them.

KULWANT, the wicked old woman of the title, loves this poem from the anthology “A Few Figs From Thistles” by Edna St. Vincent Millay.

My candle burns at both ends;
It will not last the night;
But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends—
It gives a lovely light!

CAROLINE, Kulwant’s old school friend, receives carefully personalized sonnets, from the younger man who’s in love with her.

Had we world enough and time,
This coyness lady, were no crime
We would sit down and think which way
To walk and pass our long love’s day.
Thou by the Indian Ganges’ side
Shouldst rubies find: I by the tide
Of Humber would complain.

But at my back I always hear
Time’s winged chariot hurrying near.
And yonder all before us lie
Deserts of vast eternity.
The grave’s a fine and private place
But none, I think, do there embrace.
Had we world enough and time,
This coyness, my dear Caroline, were no crime.
 (Adapted from the sonnet To His Coy Mistress by Andrew Marvell)

MAYA, who’s called the myopic, nursing a broken heart, carries these three verses with her:

You thought you’d make a fool of me
I was so blind but now I see
So now you’ve had your little joke
Guess I’m just warning other folk

You’d looked at me with those bedroom eyes
But your tender words I now despise
You broke my heart through and through
Well honey I’ve got news for you

Your designer clothes are now in rags
Packed up inside black plastic bags
Your car’s been scratched and it’s got a dent
Your name’s been taken off the rent
 (From “It’s Over” by Jan Allison)

RANI/ROSALIND, full of contradictory emotions and anger, as well as fierce independence, often recites this poem to herself, feeling guilty but not knowing what to do.

I was angry with my friend:
I told my wrath, my wrath did end.
I was angry with my foe:
I told it not, my wrath did grow.

And I watered it in fears,
Night and morning with my tears;
And I sunned it with smiles,
And with soft deceitful wiles.

And it grew both day and night,
Till it bore an apple bright.
And my foe beheld it shine.
And he knew that it was mine,

And into my garden stole
When the night had veiled the pole;
In the morning glad I see
My foe outstretched beneath the tree.
 (A Poison Tree by William Blake)

I love the magic of words, both in prose and poetry.

Ravinder Randhawa


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