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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 29, 2013

TWO POEMS: RETURN MAIL (OF DOTARD PASSION) and A CIRCLE'S SHADOW (A PENT-UP LONGING)



RETURN MAIL (A DOTARD PASSION)
“I an old man,/A dull head among windy spaces./…I have lost my passion: why should I need to keep it/ Since what is kept must be adulterated?/ I have lost my sight, smell, hearing, taste and touch:/ How should I use them for your closer contact?---T.S. Eliot, Gerontion
When I got your letter, it was past my hammock hour,
and mellow from the longings I had the night before:
you said we will grow old and the flares will flicker
 
but not our stubborn dream, reckless, an ignited habit
of holding on, a moribund troth of our semper fidelis
that needs must break through a dotard, decrepit passion
 
put to use only when desire overflows its bounden
confines--- unchecked memories of passion on the sand
underneath overhanging bluffs, trysts at wayside inns.
 
Perhaps, I will never really be able to take you back
to that belfry of the carillonneur where we hummed
our evening songs, brave songs, love songs. I am old.
 
Shall I trudge those seashores and skip over waves
with trouser bottoms rolled? Shall I steal those kisses
for an eternal ingénue and say: O, ‘twas accidental?
 
But like you, I still taste the brine on my tongue,
the dark seas still haunt my lonely hammock hours,
and your habit of rootedness is really a habit of shores
 
that must always roll the waves back to the sea
that takes back all the buried footprints, even love
heart sketches (ran through by arrows) you drew.
 
---Albert B. Casuga
 
 

A CIRCLE’S SHADOW

It the sea eats limbs of love, so love, so life, may not
to its eternal wanting finish what it late started must
soon deny: a clown’s journey through a circle’s
 
shadow, the circle rending rapture, where, threatening,
the Shadow begins what beginnings should have done:
to fill the empty cups, the gaping tables, with lilies
 
of the marsh, and vases of the Sun. But the circle
and the shadow uniting are miracles come from the Sea,
its womb and lilies devouring. Perhaps you are right.
 
Desire’s pent-up longing is brighter still, stinging still,
and will never, ever go away, like the homing waves
that take us back, take all things back, to a beginning.
 
---Albert B. Casuga
 
 

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