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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.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014




(For Chloe Dominique Lalonde, Grandchild #8)

“Adios, adios, abuelo.
Te Amo. Je T'aime! Mahal Kita! Luv ya!”
---- Chloe speaking in tongues.

A glimmer of a sylph on the gossamer bay,
She pirouettes and is gone into her chrysalis
Not unlike the sylvan truants that waylay
The wary wanderer among the trees,

Or the papillon flitting from blossom to bramble,
Hidden but always there, some surprise grace,
A magical fairy light to dispel the creeping pall
Coiled on the winter ennui of fallen days ---

O, she dandles dearly with her ragged ragdoll,
Caressingly delicate in a wistful pas de deux
Of her shadow Fonteyn caught in a sudden fall
By a prancing Baryshnikov vaulting off the shadow.

Was that his pas de chat to snatch her from disaster?
Quickly now, urgently now, hold the hapless Dame
As would a cat curl on the legs of its Master,
Dream now of a demure pas de bourree of fame,

While dreams still enthrall, while the dancing
Is still your language of love, of boundless courage,
While the arguments of your young body moving
To the beats of passion are still the true language

Of the good, the honest, and the beautiful:
Until then, mon amour, these decrepit hands cannot
Stop the deluge of fear, of hurt, and of the frightful
That would drown us all, before our windows are shut.

Even now, as you wave from your window,
I know you will be brave.





(For Louis Martin Lalonde, Grandchild #9)

1. Wiping Him Dry

Grow like the creek, as did this wisp of a boy
rising from the water, hallooing:
Look, abuelo,I can dive, I can swim!
He wiggled his salva vida floating to the edge,
his face toward the bright blue sky: I am good!
As all grandfathers would, he said: You are!

Oh, you are, my boy. And while I wipe you dry
after this dousing frolic, I run my hands over
your body, cleaning it of any tinge of dry clay,
loathe to think that if I were shaping you
from the mud East of Eden, I’d want you pure,
unalloyed, a cherubic imp of a teaser, a laughter
tickled out of a dream, a pure delight, and clean.

2. Yet Another Robot

He would build them with empty soda cans,
recycled wire, parts unknown until they move.
Look, abuelo, a robot! Whence comes this love
for all things foreign to this dotard askance
about why little lads like him would prattle
about apps and some such instead of apples?

3. Like the River

Under his breath, he also lisped a wistful
plea to the walls around him or whoever
could hear an old man’s prayer:

Please, let him build them strong, and not
destroy; and for my
nieto jovencito, to never
forget that there are grander castles in the air.
Please, let him grow like the creek,
when freed of silt will turn to clearest blue.
O let him flow like the river and find his sea.




  (For Marie Clementine, Grandchild #10)

Do you hear that rhythmic titter from the ebbtide, wee lass?
And the hiss from the sundown waves that mimics whistles
or calls of “encore”: an unbridled adoration if you ask us,
but I might just be bantering about old enchanted mortals
who have long asked whence, when, how, why, what haven,
have you come from to shower this grace on our little lives?

Dance, wee lass of all hearts. It is still the loveliest beau geste
to this sun and sea that have claimed you their own sweet child,
their bright pulsing star, their dancing laughing girl, their best
balm for all the ills of the Earth, O, our star on darkest eventides,
wee lass, to last us until the end of all that is beautiful and wild!



Mississauga, September 30, 2014


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