My photo
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.

Friday, January 14, 2011


"A Child's Map to Erewhon" took me under 40 minutes to write (---Nota Bene: Poet Luisa Igloria gives herself at least 30 minutes daily to limber---) before I realized it could take the form of a sonnet. It is the second in (hopefully) a series of poetic composition exercises triggered from a given line (ligne donne). I have done this before. It is an antidote to toxic writer's block, if there's any.

"See you at the porch tomorrow," I told Dave Bonta in my comment posted in his Morning Porch blog. I did at 11 a.m., and the poem below takes the form of a monologue. As a context, this should accommodate the central image of the poem suggested by the given line (below). All it took was for the creation of a combination of images to objectify the poetic experience.

A map through a tabula rasa of life and living takes the form of "winding parallel lines of arrows...missing only the X." Nothing preordained, no buried treasure. Just lines on the trail. It is a map full of caveat emptors.

Here is the given line:

A skim of snow on the walk is imprinted with winding, parallel lines of arrows like a child’s map of buried treasure, missing only the X.---Dave Bonta, Morning Porch (


That there is a child’s map of buried treasure
On a skim of sidewalk snow.
Look, don’t they look like parallel lines
Of arrows winding down to an erewhon?

Erewhon? O, that’s “nowhere” scrabbled
Backwards, and it’s a new game, you know.
Quite like tearing around for some gold
At the foot of the lingering rainbow.

Must have been the neighbour’s boy
Absently raking leaves jutting out of crannies
On the trail of blank snow, drawing lines
Toward a warm home but missing the X.

A child’s map is all we need this time,
Just lines to somewhere, arrows into the air.


Mississauga, January 14, 2011


The Poet's Lizard said...

Hi Manong Albert - for precision - among my "working guidelines" (just for myself), is the idea of spending *no more than* thirty minutes writing a poem-response.


That's what I really meant, Luisa, hence the "wish-I-had-done-that" dream. Imprecise as imprecise is. But, really, those Morning Porch reactions ARE poems. Looking forward to more. See you at the Porch.