Returning to the Root
“Will courage redeem stupidity?” -- Nick Joaquin
There is a manner of returning to the rootthat explains the virtue of a hole,
its quietness the petering circle:
The canon of the cipher indicts us all.
And you, rocking yourself to an eddy,drown the death wish: O that grief
on sons’ faces could tell you all.
“Will courage be visited upon my children?”
It is this cut whittles the tree down,not of consumption but of fright
that bereaving is one’s splintering
of children’s bones. Death is our betrayal.
They are sons gaping as grandfathers dieshapes the gloom of the breaking circle.
They who knew the frenzy of the bloodcry
must never return to find sons become spittle.
---ALBERT B. CASUGA
That year, after Father’s death in 1975, this poem was adjudged the Grand Prize Winner of the first Philippine national Parnasso Poetry Writing Contest. A handsome trophy sculpted by noted Philippine sculptor Edwin Castrillo and a princely sum of a thousand pesos made me happy. Father must have returned the favour. But he was no longer around to applaud. I would not even have minded a slap on the nape.
On January 9, 2013, he would have been 92. Come January 11, Mother would have been 90.