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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, August 26, 2009



--- The female carries the male butterfly on her back while they reproduce, and then the female eats the male while waiting for the pupa to become another butterfly, and then she dies shortly after. --- Bohol Butterfly Farm Guide Felix.

How a butterfly farm can turn an upside down imitation of life,
Haunts me still this side of art as life or life as art as transfixed visions
Of what we must be now: like the gravid mariposa luring its mate
In a flight of duty -– she must bear the male of her specie on her back
While they consummate a dance on air not unlike our act of mating,
She enamouring her mate with scents purloined from blossoms
As, conjoined, they flit from flower to leaf tumbling on air in ecstasy
Not unknown to us when wild and young and brave with joie de vivre,
For they must breed their kind in a chrysalis of quiescence hurriedly,
Urgently, before an inexorable end where the male must be consumed
As victual for her while she clings to bramble branches to bear her pupa
Seen to us now, voyeurs of unfolding beauty and arresting splendour,
As the preening papillon bestirring the dry air into a flutter of magic
Sprung from throes of death and dying, for she, too, must soon perish
After this function of issuing a magnificence that for us can only be borne
Of love and loving, yes, perhaps also onto death and dying.

The poet’s refrain, “how do I love thee”, is supercilious here, cher ami,
It cannot match the male butterfly’s sacrifice, nor this mariposa’s dying
To bear life, beauty, and splendour. Alas, beauty here is an omen.

August 26, 2009 (From the Writer’s Notebook of a Visayan Vacation, 2009)

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