My photo
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, July 11, 2013



Give. Receive. Dance. --- Nijun Mehta

1.  Datta:  A Gift Outright

If this were a glimpse at dying and how the mind,
fragile as it is, could pull one back to life, I would
work at it, break free from cages that have held
me captive, look at the burning sun long and hard
until I am wedded to its brilliance and finally unified.

This is the vessel that I offer you to have and to hold,
but I must fill it with the salving grace that will mold
my injured spirit back to what I carefully surrendered
for you to mend and nurture when it had foundered,
lost at some hostile sea, a boat shorn of sail, unanchored.

Like Pygmalion, I will chisel every jagged chip, remold
every broken edge, to remake this cup and will unfold
before your eyes like an earthen jar spun out of my hand,
pared clean at its brim, to collect a wellspring of fluid
nectar to last us a lifetime of all that is sweet and kind.

2. Dayadhvam: Lessons on Receiving  

When the torch of desire burns clean
you would have learned all there is to learn:
To give, Datta. To feel and care, Dayadhvam.
To own and control, Damyata.Therefore,

To love beyond all loving because it is pure
like the mother suckles her infant. Give.

To know when caring will make things grow
like the raindrops nourish but will not sting.
To have and to hold even when that lashes
irreducible hurts to weary hearts that care.

It is for this that, naked, we halloo in the rain,
Let it come! Let all desires fill our dry vessels.

Then we wake up to the warm caress of the Sun
for the day is always new, the flower lovely.
Is not the rose lovelier when its thorns sharpen?
Does not the potter’s knife need its razor edge

to pare the lips of the wine jar and smoothen
its mouth that lovers may drink to full desire?

Bare your body then to its wild abandon, salve
it with the cool spring water now welled
from the earth, and open your mouth to kiss
the sunlight, defy the anguish. Never say, not yet.

Let it come! Let the leaves fall on this Upanishad,
because the leap of faith is never to say Not yet.

3. Damyata:  A Mud Dance Dialogue

Mud as fire extinguisher? Bloody overkill, I say.
Douse it with a spit of brandy and gin chaser,
and off to a cabin at the edge of the woods! Huh.
“How about we try some joy”? A blowhard’s line.
How about a walk in the woods, mud and all,
and answer old questions left unanswered:

Is love most nearly itself when it ceases to matter?
What is need that it remains unsatiated, unmet,
when lovers seek ardour to brim beyond fulfillment?
Ah, let’s slosh away in the mud where mud is,
and we might yet find a balm for this burning ember
we carry around like raw marks singed in our palms.

What joy is there where union is not communion?
What need is there for glowing embers flaming out
of buckets? I would rather we danced in this muck

of mud and find our freed fears become the dance,
our only dance, before the stroke of midnight,
before the convulsions of laughter turn to pain.


Mississauga, July 11, 2013


No comments: