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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.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


A Poem



Not in this anointed urn before me are you, Mama;
Not in unchained elements of your ashes,
Once mode of your body and heart and mind.
Where is your spirit now but in freedom
Of earth and sea, sky and wind -- god-like
Nowhere and everywhere undefined, uncontained?
Where are you, Mama of stories and prayers,
Model of forms of kindness that brought
People to enlivened faith and hope and caring?
I break this silent vase with this poem of tears --
Your real presence explodes in fiery holiness,
Enfolds me with light of memories of love and home.
The taste of your milk is on my tongue,
That made us one: Madonna and Child.


Last May 24, the mother of poet and seminary rector, Rev. Francisco R. Albano, died at 89. This poem was written in July after the poet’s spiritual retreat. Having “adopted” Fr. Albano as my own brother, I, too, received news about his mother's, Tia Crescenta Rojas Albano’s demise. (He is a “tocayo” --- namesake --- rather serendipitously of my own late brother, Francisco, who died in my mother’s womb.)

I am publishing this poem (reprinted from his blog Pax Vobis) with a prayerful wish that my own mother, at 88, would consider this poet’s sentiments to be the exact, same thoughts I have, and hope that from this distance she would read them, too, while she is still with us. So "death shall have no dominion."

In a comment I affixed to the poem via Multiply, I wrote Fr Albano:

“This is a beautiful poem. La Pieta reversed. The juxtaposition of physical and metaphysical creates a tension that achieves your theme.. Bless her soul who inspires great utterance. Albert”

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