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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.

Sunday, February 27, 2011



(For the Fallen Freedom Fighters of People Power in Manila, Libya, Egypt, Yemen, Bahrain, Tunisia, Iraq and elsewhere.)

Even these gray skies are not spared
the mayhem plotted by the mighty:
somewhere among the prickly branches
dangles the mangled carrion of a junco
who must have tried to fly higher
than it should and caught the eye
of the sharp-shinned hawk now wiping
its after-breakfast beak atop the bald
maple tree as a gray breast feather
floats down and lands on snow.

Icarus will not --cannot--fly to the sun.

There will be hordes of sparrows
perched sentry-like on those branches
before their trembling twigs break
into a camouflage of leaves and flowers.
That gnarled maple will loom gray with
twittering kins of that quartered prey
and there will be a cacophony of calls
before perching sundown songs are sung.
Not quite a reveille at sunrise, a screech
of a battlecry echoes in the wakened hills:

Icarus, Icarus, do not fly to the sun!

The predator has arrived for the hunt:
glides into the maple top rather regally
while the sparrows swarm for the kill
before the sharp-shinned hawk alights.
A stained black breast feather floats
amid the strangest banshee of triumph.

Icarus rises, screams, then plummets.

Mississauga, 02-27-11

This poem was “found” from the following images, and developed quickly from the first section into the last two sections.

Gray sky. A gray breast feather floats down and lands on the snow. Ten minutes later, a sharp-shinned hawk appears in the big maple.---Dave Bonta, The Morning Porch, 02-26-11

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