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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.

Monday, January 17, 2011


# 5. Poems triggered by given lines (ligne donne)


Icicles at sunrise
Streak a titmouse on its breast
With cherry colours.

Icicles at sunrise
Are prism on barren branches
Shone through by sunlight.

Icicles at sunrise
Sparkle on downy flakes
Falling on black leaves.

Icicles at sunrise
Cast rainbow tints on shadows
Of brittle bramble.

Icicles at sunrise
Become scarecrow posts when
Mid-day shadows loom.

Icicles at sunrise
Are blades suspended on trees,
Are grass blades come spring.

Mississauga, O1-17-11

The Given Line (Ligne Donne):

A titmouse lands in the cherry, the streak in his breast the same rust as a tree sparrow’s cap, a broomsedge stem, these icicles at sunrise. Dave Bonta, Morning Porch, (

Classical Japanese Haikus lent themselves well to nature poets like Basho, Issa, Shiki, and Buson. Given the nature meditations of Dave Bonta in his Morning Porch blog, we thought we would try the Haiku form as bodies of his ligne donne.
Apparently from the above, and the previous exercises in this series of Morning Porch poems, the haiku is still a useful form for nature images that objectify an idea, a sentiment, a mood, or simply an undefined feeling.
(See Haiku Inspirations: Poems and Meditations on Nature and Beauty by Tom Lowenstein, 2006 Duncan Board Publishers, London).
As a poetry composition exercise, the writing of the Haiku is exacting in its demands of precision in the combination of images that ultimately forms the gestalt that concretizes the idea which invariably appears as ideographs in the original characters.

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