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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.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

BUILDING CASTLES



BUILDING CASTLES


(For Louis Martin Lalonde, nieto jovencito)


He stood on a box when he eagerly squealed
“ ‘Lolo! Come, help me build a castle! Come!”

Not the usual sulky, sullen, silence slicing
through the interloper who has come to retrieve
his doting abuela. His jaunty leap toppled
the box of Lego blocks spilling helter-skelter
amid clucking cuidado-warnings from her
who wondered what kindled the stripling elf
into this challenge that bewildered him who
seemed to dodder with the lilt of entreaties
rushing out like a burst of rainwater dammed
on a creek, now freed of flotsam and debris,
now on a lower key: Please, ‘lolo? Please?

Gingerly, the hapless dotard plugged holes
with stubby poles, while the littlest builder
yelled design demands shrieking with glee
that soon enough he will grow a castle out
of his dreams, tall on the rug by the fireplace,
and he shall have his throne, and cars galore.
Like all grandfathers before him or after,
he chuckled a praise for the boy suddenly
turned to a builder-man: Good work, hijo mio!

Under his breath, he also lisped a wistful
plea to the walls around him or whoever
could hear an old man’s prayer:
Please, let him build them strong, and not
destroy; and for my nieto jovencito, to never
forget that there are grander castles in the air.
Please, let him grow like the creek,
when freed of silt will turn to clearest blue.
O, let him flow like the river and find his sea.

—ALBERT B. CASUGA
Mississauga, Ont. 03-03-11


The poem’s Prompt.
Three days past the last rain, the creek sings in a lower key, like a boy turning into a man. Free of silt, it’s learning how to be blue.---Dave Bonta, The Morning Porch, 03-03-11 (http://www.morningporch.com/)

1 comment:

NotTheMom said...

This post made me cry. Louis will be able to read this when he's grown up and remember the simple pleasures you enjoyed together. Thank you Daddy.