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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.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


When Philippine poet and seminary rector Rev. Fr. Francisco R. Albano wrote me back in one of those emails that seem to glide with the Holy Spirit (they reach me at times when wracked by melancholia and inability to write or even think straight), I was flattered to find him come out with his version of “A Theory of Echoes.” The poetic exchange is happily grander than the commerce in the Stock Exchange. The profits are all mine, though.

My own “Theory of Echoes” limned the axiom of death (violent or de rigueur) as life’s extension; his described the principle of life and the celebration of joy, of the Fall and Deliverance, of the Divine Word echoed in the words of man, of all reality recalling the beginning before Beginning, of an unending eddy of echoes from man to God and back. The deepest echo itself, of course, is man made in His own Image.

The melding of this eschatological view of life, love, and joie de vivre with the mundane journey that human life is makes Fr. Albano’s Another Theory of Echoes the gentler, more sublime vision of man’s voice as that reverberating echo of God’s voice, if only men listened ardently.

His is the better Echo.

A Theory of Echoes

1. Axiom

Echoes shape corridors lean
Leaving them a cipher’s silence
Not unlike the axiom of a day:

All things go up to fall the way
Fractured birdwings fall, violence
Met in the loins of wind.
Lean corridors shape echoes,
Silence ciphering them, leaving
A day axiomed as not what is unlike

The way the fall of things strike:
Violence on the fractured bird wing,
Winds loyned with zodiaqual zeroes.

2. Echo



Indeed, recalling Gerard Manley Hopkins, “The world is charged with the grandeur of God.”


By Francisco R. Albano

In the beginning
Before beginnings
God said
Let there be light
And his voice traveled
And returned
As light
Again he said
Let there be
Let there be
And his echoes
Sky and earth
And waters in-between
Flora and fauna
Sun moon stars
And God was delighted
He shouted eternity
And time burst
Birthing sound
The form and content
Of Man and Woman
God named all
Then Man and Woman
Looked around
And into themselves
And saw it all
And were delighted
They said
Let there be Poetry
Of us
And everything
Around us
And they heard
Become echoes
Heard them returning
To eternity through time
Through silence
Of themselves
And heard not themselves
But the Voice
Of the One
Who uttered them
Then they sinned
And were forgiven
Sinned again
And were forgiven
They saw Paradise
Become Chaos
Around them
In them
And they said
Let there be Poetry
And Chaos gathered
In pain and sorrow
In comfort and joy
Became Paradise
Of Man and Woman
Who again heard
The echoes
Heard them travelling
Painfully slowly
Through their time
Of Man and Woman
Let there be Poetry
They said
Said it like a prayer
And the echoes
Of Chaos
Shimmering Chaos
Rose and rose
And merged with
The Voice
Who worded all
In the beginning
Before beginnings
And All were

How so like Padre Paco to set me right when I fall prey to the confusion of what shapes life and how it “works.” In earlier entries, I alluded to a literary bond with him that goes back to our teaching at San Beda College in Manila where he, as Publications Director and Chairman of the English Department, was mainly my literary patron and principal “goader”. He continues to nurture this vinculum by gracing our otherwise sporadic cyber-communication with an exchange of poetry and prayer.

When my Apollo Poems (Man on the Moon) suggested that the poetic celebration of the moon will come to an end with man’s landing on the moon and finding the satellite a huge Rock, he countered with his Apollo by Moonlight which counselled to “Swear still by the moon.”

I cherish our poetic brotherhood; I treasure his poetry.

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