Usha Kishore

Born and brought up in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, Usha Kishore now lives on the Isle of Man, UK. Usha was educated at the University of Kerala (India), Sheffield Hallam University (UK) and Canterbury Christ Church University College (UK).   After having taught for some time in the British Secondary and Tertiary Sector, Usha now teaches English at a Secondary School on the Isle of Man . Usha’s poetry has been published in magazines and anthologies in the US, UK, Ireland, Europe, New Zealand, India and online. Some of her poems have been translated into German, Spanish and Gujurati. She also writes critical articles for international magazines.  Her poetry has won prizes in UK competitions and has been part of national and international projects. Her short story “Dowry” was shortlisted for a major UK literary award, the Asham Award (UK) in 2005.  Usha also translates from Sanskrit; her translations of Sankara have been published in India, the UK and USA.   She is now translating Kalidasa’s Ritusamhara, in conjunction with Dr.Rati Saxena of Shree Shankaracharya Sanskrit University, Kalady, Kerala.





For The Dynasty Of the Moon
(after reading Kylie Rose)

For the dynasty of the Moon,
A hundred thousand lives lost
in verse…

Metres of battle scanned into
Krishna’s eternal song –
A stoic sage chronicles the

end of his own dynasty –
a patient elephant God scribes
into eternity…

In the Vela kali of yesteryear’s
setting sun, I hear the battle cry of
the lone sun-warrior, who challenges

the house of the moon.
Panchavadya notes echo
into twilight memory –

The raga hindola, mourning the death
of the lone young warrior killed
by deceit. Arjuna takes a terrible

vow and Krishna smiles in the
bugles of Panchajanya, while a
lone monkey mediates on the flagstaff…

From the carvings on the temple wall,
she, with unravelled hair, calls out to my
soul from stone – screaming revenge for

the disrobing of womanhood….


Krishna’s eternal song – The Hindu “Gita”
Vela kali – Temple art (dance) form
Panchavadya – five instruments played together
Hindola – a raga in Carnatic music
Panchajanya – the conch of Krishna (The poem is based on the Hindu epic Mahabharatha)


Nikhat’s Mother

She stands out in a crowd –
Her shocking pink
dupatta carrying
songs from the Gilgit –

She is without
a language here –
I am her interpreter –
translating her
language, her culture
her colour–

She does not understand
why Nikhat has to attend
school daily – Nikhat is at
her sister-in law’s cousin’s
wedding in Bradford–
Today is Mehendi, tomorrow
is the Nikah  and Nikhat will
not be in school for a week –

She does not understand
why Nikhat is harassed
by school bobbies –
Bibi jaan, taleem lena,
dena hamara mamla hai –
Ye gore kyun dakl dete

Biting back half-an hour’s
exasperated laughter,
I interpret to the irate
Head of School:
Nikhat’s mother  does not
understand the concept
of compulsory education…


Mehendi – The henna festival before marriage     
dupatta – veil/scarf    
Nikah –  Muslim Wedding ceremony                                        
The Urdu dialogue can be translated as:  Madam, education is our personal business, why are the whites interfering?                              
Gilgit – a city in Northern Pakistan and is the gateway to the Karakoram ranges of the Himalayas.