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© Carola Colley: Nine Threads Woven  

Inspired by Usha Kishore’s lines:  

Shadows shudder and melt into myths: “Teaching between two worlds”

{digitally enhanced by Usha Kishore}

Photo: © Ian Coulson

Drinking Dragon

Usha Kishore

You are not a rock, but an allegory frozen in time.

You were no spitfire lizard, no basilisk fable, no reptilian tale.

You were a thunder dragon drinking the sea, quenching your

fiery thirst, when Mac Lir’s mists moulded you into stone.


You were born when first lightning smote molten mountains,

when rocks melted into the fire of creation; when oceans

flowed from the womb of inchoate earth.  Living in shadows,

you stirred the mind of spirits in legend and apologue.

Evolving from crawling serpent, you grew wings to blind the sun.  

Your roar became language, your wing-beats exploding verse.  

Drifting between the sun and the moon, you carried votive

offerings for the gods in flights that bridged life and death.


Wording the sons of men, you map continents with your blood,

only to be slain by insane knights, who misread your sparkling eye

for the sake of glory and song.  Armoured in immortal myth,

you swing from some gemmèd branch of the world tree, hiding behind

leaves of centuries that flower in science and logic.  Flying across

temporal labyrinths, you lie in space; the milky way stretched

across your back, throwing in wing and prayer in the paths

of wayward moons.  Dancing in darkness, your light spills

across the night in auroralensembles.   You are cumulus cloud,

dark phase of the moon guarding sacred groves, rivers and lakes

of a monsoon land, where your fire is still thunder, your shimmering

tail, an unsung rainbow refrain, an intergalactic hum of stars.


Beyond the blue ascend of the heavens, beyond the green plunge

of the seas, you claim a kingdom in exile.  You are a prisoner

of eternity, camouflaged in rock. On equinox days, when the sky

hangs low, you swallow the sun, spitting it out into the ochred air.  

Usha’s poetry has been part of the following national, international and individual projects:

Translation project with the Indian scholar M Sambasivan, India,  2012 – 2015 (now a book of translations – Translating the  Divine Woman, Rasala,  India) CLICK HERE

Poems, “In Exile” and “Heather”, part of “Wirral Festival of Firsts Poetry Trail”, June 2015

“Drinking Dragon” – part of Drinking Dragon Project, Isle of Man College and Northumbria University , 2015

Indian Hill Station Project with the Isle of Man Heritage Railways, October 2014

Manx LitFest Poetry Workshop – September 2014

Celebrating the centenary of 'Adlestrop', commemorative project, The Poetry Society, UK.  {Tribute Poems}, June 2014

Nature Erin Arts display,  Isle of Man, UK,  Spring 2012

Cyprus Spring Poetry Rain, Spring 2012

Olympic Relay Poem, London – August, 2012

Rochdale Canal Poetry Trail, UK,  Summer  2012   

Manx Litfest Poetry Trail Isle of Man, UK, September  2012

City of Philadelphia, Mural Arts Program USA Peace is a Haiku Song, 2011

Walsall Residency Project, 2006.  

Index on Censorship Education Project,  UK, 2005

Seven Stories Project, Newcastle, UK, 2005

Other Voices, International Poetry Project,  USA, 2005.

Moving Stories - NAWE, UK project in  association with British Railways, 2004

Poetry Projects

Radha, The Sensuous Goddess – with the Indian dancer, Prajyoti Madhusudhan of Pushpanjali Dance Company, UK – an Ekphrastic performance based on Poetry, Narration, Translation of Sanskrit Classics and Indian Dance – (2016)

Gendered Yearnings  -  Ongoing Ekphrastic Project on the paintings of Raja Ravi Varma, (2012 -       )

Nine Threads Woven – Usha’s poetry is part of Carola Colley’s project Nine Threads Woven, where Carola has responded to Usha’s poetry in artwork and sculpture. (2015 -   )  - CLICK HERE   

Prerna (Translated from Hindi as Inspiration) - This is an Ekphrastic Project with the Indian artist Sandhya Arvind, who uses the indigenous Warli and Madhubani repertoires for expression.  (2013 -   2015 ) CLICK HERE & CLICK HERE CLICK HERE  

Ekphrasis in collaboration with UK artist Carola Colley,   2012 – 2013 Part of Lindsfield Arts Festival, West Sussex. May   2013. CLICK HERE

C.A.U.S.E. Belgium  - Coalition of Artists  United for   Social Engagement (Belgium),  Ecuador Project 2005

 Ekphrastic Projects