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Usha Verma

Usha Verma is a Hindi poet, short story writer and translator. She was born in Uttar Pradesh in India and now lives in York. She has translated a children's picture book into Hindi, How Do I Put it On? (Bodley Head) and her own first poetry collection is Kshitij Adhuri (1999). She has also edited a collection of twelve stories - Sanjhi Katha Yatra (2003) - and a second volume is forthcoming in 2005. Usha writes a regular book review column for Purvai magazine and her poems have appeared in anthologies and in such leading Hindi literary magazines as Samkaleen Bhartiya Sahitya, Aajkal, Sahitya Amrit and Kathan.

The Promise of Dawn

Sun, moon and stars
sparkle and hide in the self-same sky;
but the lamp, burning in a lonely room,
covers the weeping wailing darkness in her lap,
and tells the earth: "I will give you light.
I know I cannot offer you the entire sky.
Don't ask me who I am. You will grow restless
in an eternity of waiting, as sorrow is distanced
when encircled by your love.
Rays of laughter will surround your life.
You too are waiting for someone."

Fear of Death
            I am frozen
          in fear of you.
         Even while I live
you snatch away my breath.
      Your coming is certain.
    It is universal knowledge:
          you must arrive.
           But fear of you
            is itself death.
       I would like, O Death,
  to keep company with you
           when you come,
            to sit with you
             and converse.
      Life has not taught me
            anything, but
         perhaps from you
      I may learn something.