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ALBERT B. CASUGA, a Philippine-born writer, lives in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, where he continues to write poetry, fiction, and criticism after his retirement from teaching and serving as an elected member of his region's school board. He was nominated to the Mississauga Arts Council Literary Awards in 2007. A graduate of the Royal and Pontifical University of St. Thomas (now University of Santo Tomas, Manila. Literature and English, magna cum laude), he taught English and Literature (Criticism, Theory, and Creative Writing) at the Philippines' De La Salle University and San Beda College. He has authored books of poetry, short stories, literary theory and criticism. He has won awards for his works in Canada, the U.S.A., and the Philippines. His latest work, A Theory of Echoes and Other Poems was published February 2009 by the University of Santo Tomas Publishing House. His fiction and poetry were published by online literary journals Asia Writes and Coastal Poems recently. He was a Fellow at the 1972 Silliman University Writers Workshop, Philippines. As a journalist, he worked with the United Press International and wrote an art column for the defunct Philippines Herald.

Thursday, April 16, 2009


A Writer's Notebook is a booby trap. This works both ways: one could find an embarrassing entry to ruin your day or days to come; another could be a an edifying, soul-lifting discovery of an old poem, never been published, pristine, unedited, un-molested by human hands and anxiety.

I found another love poem from my Notebook of a Vacation. This was not difficult to write. Its ligne donne "the river runs its course" came to me during a lazy cruise down the River Lachine in Quebec. Using the image of river-sea, tributary-destination as an emotional correlative, I wrote the poem quickly as soon as my wife and I got back to our hotel suite. I like its original form; the revisions you see here are cosmetic in that they are minuscule.


It is the river as mother to the sea
Entraps us into this womblike feeling of ease;
It is the river draws us to this discovery
Of need, our quiet helplessness.
We are the river ran its course
Into an engulfment of restless sea.
How far have we gone from our rivered Nara?
Or how long have we gone astray?
Does the river current come full circle
From the breaking waves of sea?
Do we meet each other, dreamlike,
In the endless stream of the world’s Lachines?
When do we come back as rivulets
In some hidden rock spring?
The river runs full circle, and we discover
We have not even halfway met.
When will my currents break into your rocks,
You distant sea, you entrapment of need
And engulfment of ease?
When will the sea create the river?
When will the river create the sea?
Where they meet in the trickle of a little garden,
Who laves the riverstones?
Who laps the greening shores?
The river’s rush is also our question.

From the Notebook of a Vacation, 1985
I hope I will no longer revise this poem. I like its flow. Its rhythm and sound system objectify the river current and the restlessness of a turbulent sea.
Beware the entries that have suffered a helter-skelter of criss-crossing lines to hide the embarrassing boners.

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