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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, April 11, 2011

COLLABORATIVE POETRY 4: HEWERS AND CARRIERS (Irony, Colloquialism, and Humour In Poetry)

Hewers and Carriers: A Collaborative Poem

The brew in the cup says bitter, but the tongue—/ the tongue wants to find its way to honey.---Luisa A. Igloria, Poem on Water and Wood, Via Negativa 04-10-11


Of what make, what calibre are you, hewer of wood?
Which well do you fetch water from, carrier of water?
Do measures count you at all as the universe turns?

Hewer: I chopped wood to build catapults for Mt. Rushmore;
Eiffel would be a fantasy without these fingers, mon ami.
Grand blarney all that: just think of your country cottage.

Carrier: Who would bring hard water pails for Chernobyl?
Would Las Vegas glitter without my Hoover Dam water?
Nah, all balderdash that: you’d stink without bath water.

So, pin the medals on us, for all we care. Wood and water—
that’s all you need whatever chill winter frost would bring,
or thirst and sunburn infernal summer would pitch your way.

We are a couple for the ages, hewer and carrier, H&C, Inc.
We do build homes, but look how without our wiles (services)
this earth would still be a canopy under a tent of stars.

Rivers and oceans would still be playgrounds of sharks
and goldfish, mountains would still be Bunyan’s frontiers
where the oak is an oak not timber or log for a brothel cabin.

Puny and downtrodden or spat upon? Hewer and Carrier,
when coupled, though, turns brew to bittter, water to waste,
fish to faeces. O, leave us to stay little, where our tongues

would not wag about Afghanistan, Libya, Iran, or Fukushima
but do what tongues do, lick the sweet in the honey, moisten
the welt on the wee one’s forehead bruise, say: luv ya, honey.

—Albert B. Casuga

"Poem on Wood and Water" by Luisa A. Igloria served as the prompt for this poem that liberally uses irony, wry humour, and colloquialism. It is part of the series of collaborative poems to mark National Poetry Writing in Canada and the United States. Igloria's poem was first posted in Dave Bonta's Via Negativa 04-10-11 (

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