Guest Post – Love and Loss by Ravinder Randhawa


When the lovely Faye Rogers asked me if I would like to be part of this fab blog tour I jumped at the chance.  I loved Ravinder Randhawa’ s other books I read this year Dynamite and Beauty And The Beast which I reviewed as part of a previous blog tour.

For my stop on the blog tour the lovely author Ravinder Randhawa is sharing some poetry with us and reflecting on love and loss.

A huge thank you to Faye Rogers and author Ravinder Randhawa for having me on this wonderful tour!

About The Book

A Wicked Old Woman

Publisher – Matador

Date Published – October 24th 2015 (republished)

Format – Paperback & Ebook

Category – Contemporary

Drama. Masquerade. Mischief.

A sharply observed, witty and confident novel. Linguistically playful, entertaining and provoking.

In a bustling British city,  Kulwant mischievously masquerades as a much older woman, using her walking stick like a Greek chorus, ‘…stick-leg-shuffle-leg-shuffle…’ encountering new adventures and getting bruised by the jagged edges of her life. There’s the Punjabi punk who rescues her after a carefully calculated fall; Caroline, her gregarious friend from school days, who watched over her dizzy romance with ‘Michael the Archangel’, Maya the myopic who can’t see beyond her broken heart and Rani/Rosalind, who’s just killed a man …

Vividly bringing to life a bit of the 60s, 70s and 80s.

You can find out more about this fab book here or on Goodreads here

Love and Loss

Our lives seesaw on love and loss. Even when we’ve lost, we continue to love. Grieving, bitter-sweet memory accompanying our days. Where there was presence, there’s now absence; where there was a voice, there are only echoes; where there was a future, there’s only a past. The world will never be the same again.

The following three poems cover the centuries from 725 to 2015. The emotions of the oldest poem to the newest, touch us with the same poignancy and haunting sadness as when they were first written.

Poem 1

I was introduced to the ‘River Merchant’s Wife,’ by an actor friend, who read it out to a group of us after dinner. Silencing us with the gentle love story of these two young people, and the wife’s long wait, her yearning hopefulness.

The River Merchant’s Wife: A Letter

While my hair was still cut straight across my forehead

I played about the front gate, pulling flowers.

You came by on bamboo stilts, playing horse,

You walked about my seat, playing with blue plums.

And we went on living in the village of Chōkan:

Two small people, without dislike or suspicion.

At fourteen I married My Lord you.

I never laughed, being bashful.

Lowering my head, I looked at the wall.

Called to, a thousand times, I never looked back.

At fifteen I stopped scowling,

I desired my dust to be mingled with yours

Forever and forever and forever.

Why should I climb the look out?

At sixteen you departed,

You went into far Ku-tō-yen, by the river of swirling eddies,

And you have been gone five months.

The monkeys make sorrowful noise overhead.

You dragged your feet when you went out.

By the gate now, the moss is grown, the different mosses,

Too deep to clear them away!

The leaves fall early this autumn, in wind.

The paired butterflies are already yellow with August

Over the grass in the West garden;

They hurt me. I grow older.

If you are coming down through the narrows of the river Kiang,

Please let me know beforehand,

And I will come out to meet you

As far as Chō-fu-Sa.

(By Li Po. Adapted by Ezra Pound 1915)

Poem 2

The seesaw swings and we have one of the most beautiful love poems in the English language, ‘Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer’s Day?’ which refuses to acknowledge loss. Whether it’s the loss of youth and beauty, or life and love.

Sonnet 18. ‘Shall I Compare Thee To A Summers Day?’

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?

Thou art more lovely and more temperate.

Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,

And summer’s lease hath all too short a date.

Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,

And often is his gold complexion dimmed;

And every fair from fair sometime declines,

By chance, or nature’s changing course, untrimmed;

But thy eternal summer shall not fade,

Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st,

Nor shall death brag thou wand’rest in his shade,

When in eternal lines to Time thou grow’st.

     So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,

     So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

(William Shakespeare )

Poem 3

‘Phone Call on a Train Journey,’ is peculiarly a product of our technology. The anguish of receiving such news while held in solitary captivity on a train, where your feelings have nowhere to go, to till the train reaches the station.

Phone Call on a Train Journey

The smallest bone in the human ear

weighs no more than a grain of rice.

She keeps thinking it means something

but probably is nothing.

Something’s lost, she craves it

hunting in pockets, sleeves,

checks the eyelets in fabric.

Could you confirm you were his sister?

When they pass her his rimless glasses,

they’re tucked into a padded sleeve;

several signatures later,

his rucksack is in her hands

(without the perishables),

lighter than she had imagined.

(From the collection Small Hands by Mona Arshi, published April 2015. Winner of the Forward Prize for Best First Collection.)

A Wicked Old Woman

About The Author

Ravi Photograph

Ravinder Randhawa is the acclaimed author of the novels Beauty and the Beast (YA), A Wicked Old Woman, The Tiger’s Smile and the short story collection Dynamite. She’s currently working on a trilogy: The Fire-Magician. Ravinder was a Royal Literary Fund Fellow at Toynbee Hall, Queen Mary’s University, the University of London, and founded the Asian Women Writer’s Collective.

Ravinder was born in India, grew up in leafy Warwickshire, now lives in London and agrees with Samuel Johnson’s saying (though of course, in a gender non-specific way) ‘…if a man is tired of London, he is tired of life.’  Loves good coffee and really good thrillers.





Check out my review of Dynamite here

Or Beauty And The Beast here

You can also check out a guest post from Ravinder about her favourite scenes in her other book The Coral Strand here

Blog Tour

Why not catch up on the rest of this wonderful blog tour!


Monday 23rd November

A Novel Haul

Tuesday 24th November

Books with Bunny

Wednesday 25th November


Thursday 26th November


Friday 27th November

Live Otherwise

Saturday 28th November

So Many Books, So Little Time

Sunday 29th November

Big Book Little Book

Jane & Bex Book Blog

 Monday 30th November

Have Book Will Read

Tuesday 1st December

Linda’s Book Bag

Wednesday 2nd December

Ali the Dragon Slayer

Reviewed the Book

Thursday 3rd December

The Review Diaries

 Friday 4th December

The Bibliophile & Tea

Poppy Peacock Pens

 Saturday 5th December

The Reader’s Corner


Sunday 6th December

Tales of Yesterday

Have you read A Wicked Old Women or any other books by Ravinda Randhawa?  What did you think?   I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of the page or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy !

Happy Reading!



Written by

I am often known to be a bit clumsy and a little loopy! Book loving (obsessed), theatre loving, slasher film loving csi geek! Winner of UKYABA Champion Newcomer 2015 and nominated for Champion of Social Media 2016 and Blogger Of The Year 2016! © 2014 - 2021 Michelle Toy All Rights Reserved

You may also like...

1 Response

  1. December 29, 2016

    […] Or a fab poetry guest post by Ravinder Randhawa here […]