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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, April 28, 2011



There were songs, and there were songs.
But the old ones were those that stayed.
“Sometimes, I wonder why I spend
the lonely nights, dreaming of a song…”
Remember that refrain? Do they die?
Not when you sing them as you putter
around your plot of roses: “Roses are red,
violets are blue, sugar is sweet, my love,
and so are you….” How can they fade?
Not even when Crosby-like you pine
for a Mexicali rose: “Stop crying, I’ll
come back to you some sunny day.”
That’s how they come back, don’t they?
Like the ebb tide kept on erasing those
love letters you wrote on the sand.
“O, you laughed when I cried each time
I saw the tide take our letters on the sand.”
But you were young and you kept writing
though the tide did not stop. You did.
It’s like waking up to a familiar song,
it takes a while before you know it’s new;
you’ve heard it before, then forgot the words,
until one day these were just the right words
for your song after your morning cup of tea.
Just like that yellowthroat’s warble:
it’s a late spring you know, and you heard
its lilt last fall. Like old songs, they just linger.

—Albert B. Casuga

Poetic Prompt: A song so familiar it takes several minutes to register that this is new, the first I’ve heard it since last fall: common yellowthroat. ---Dave Bonta, Morning Porch 04-27-11

Give me a feedback: Is this poem maudlin? How much emotional content can a poem have before it turns saccharine?

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