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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, April 24, 2011



Such pageantries of suffering, our little/ lives rounding toward the dream of sleep and rest,/their waters all-forgiving…---Luisa A. Igloria, from "Vigil"

O, let them come to the water: all who are weary,
let them come. It is invitations like this that I
recall from Sunday school, and the biscuits shared.

Then we grow away from them; too pat, too easy.
Are we forgiven all transgressions then against all
who heap scorn and who trespass against us?

A tit for a tat. Lex Talionis is clear and simple.
Pluck my eye, and I would make a clean bone
of your eye socket. Je me souviens. I will not forgive.

Did not Simon Peter sever an ear dear to Pilate’s
Malchus? “Upon this sword, Peter, I shall build
a Rock of a church, no perfidy shall prevail against.”

“Would he had said that, and not wait at Gethsemane,”
they now murmur, vanquished, huddled in vigil
to await a third day before the cock crows thrice.

The hill of skulls has since become a bastion of power,
even the mighty tremble before it. All because he
said: “Forgive them, they know not what they do.”

What’s left of this edict is now a little pageant
around empty tombs where the Empty Tomb
was finally sealed: He is not here! He is risen! He has left!

Little lives are left in a trek of remembrance. He is risen.
He has left. He will come again to judge the living.
He will judge the dead. O let them come to the water.

Where they flow far from the old Jordan river, they wash
the stain on every limb cut and every hand that cut them.
Our little lives will remember. We will forgive.

---Albert B. Casuga

Collorative Poetry Prompt:  "Vigil" by Luisa A. Igloria, Via Negativa

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