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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 22, 2013

THE BIG QUESTIONS, 24: WHEN WORDS COME BACK (WHY APOLOGIZE FOR THE MANNER YOU LIVED?)

This is Poem #24 in my series of poem responses to the Big Questions to celebrate National Poetry Month (NaPoMo, April 24). This poem-a-day project is an effort to use poetry to define what one needs to know as truth that are matched by reality we have confidence in.
 
 
 
 
WHEN WORDS COME BACK

(For my Children: That They May Forgive)

 
There are no lessons deep enough, clear enough,
that they could hold on to or use to decipher,
or understand, or even to respond: Of what use?

Of what use are murmuring creeks that turn
blue when they flow into the river’s mouth
as it meanders to an open sea, itself a tributary

to all that is deep and dark and dangerous
in these untamed oceans, beginnings and ends
of life, the vast expanse of all our explorations.

What does it matter that the moon swings low
over pine branches, or that the urgent calls
to trek back to forgotten origins are inexorable?

You can only counsel them enough of beauty,
because this earth makes it more often an omen
of regrets, or even an augury of faithless betrayal.

When the words you lisped--as they turned
somnolent in your arms--come back to haunt them,
they will rush back to you and pray for strength.

When that time comes, do not mumble an apology,
because this has never been needed nor accepted.
 

—ALBERT B. CASUGA

 

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