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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.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

THE PILOT LIGHT (A Poem Triggered by a Ligne Donne): Series


Trains do not run at Poro Point, China Sea’s north sentinel,
But I always recall midnight trainrides going back home:

They would crane their necks out for a distant light, however
Late it took for this rickety, dank, dingy, and dark charger
To arrive at its last station in San Fernando. He is home.
Único hijo, niño bonito, Salvador del nombre muerto.

When I saw her last, she asked: Did you take that long ride
On the midnight train? You should have waited for us
To meet you at the station. You should have called.
Where is your father? Did anyone meet you there at all?

The train does not come here anymore was a kind answer
I thought I would have said, but I kept as quiet as his sepia
Portrait on the wall. I tore away to a space of intense cold
And stillness, so deep the trains cannot be heard.

That was the lad of lost years grown beyond these tears,
The kisses on her hands were those of a shrivelled man
Gone back to retrieve promises that remain unkept:
I will be back on all those midnight trains. I will be back.

Here, on my hammock hour, on a cold cabin porch,
I catch a cardinal flicker like a pilot light under the bridal
Wreath bush and espy the blurred distant light of a cargo
Train pushing through the looming blizzard.

Mississauga, 1-22-11

The Given Line (ligne donne) triggering the poem:

Intense cold, and a stillness so deep the trains can barely be heard. A cardinal flickers like a pilot light under the bridal wreath bush.---Dave Bonta, Morning Porch, 1-22-11(

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