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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 24, 2011

A WINTER QUESTION (A Poem Triggered by a Given Line [ligne donne]): A Series


Must the burdock’s flower grow this prickly
To preen above its dock leaves that shelter
Leeches, lady bugs, and meandering lizards?

Some time soon, at season’s turn, we might
Find that question useful. Not now. Not when
Even the sharp sparkles of a winter sun can't
Lend it poise: it has a thin but graceful shadow
Shorn of its leaves that could have been
A junco’s perch, a bug’s slalom zigzag course,
A gecko’s undulant porch, a look-out point
For the titmouse gone gaga over downy snow.

Some time soon, the burdock’s prickly flower
Will, with its spring nectar, find its butterfly.
Will anyone dare call it ugly and squat then?

Mississauga, 1-24-11

The Given Line Triggering the Poem:

The ugly squat burdock has a thin and graceful shadow. It inches over the snow without getting snagged by the sharp sparkles of sun.---Dave Bonta, Morning Porch, 1-24-11 (

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