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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, October 28, 2014




(In honour of Argyles Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, who died standing on guard)

(For his son, Marcus, at 5)


Hardly has the crackle of grim gunfire
subsided around the mute emblem
of courage,  faith,  and the pyrrhic fall
of the young soldier (kilt, rifle, and all,
bloodied by blind jihadist mayhem),
where he stood guard to honour his land’s
heroes who have laid their precious lives---
when these fearless  accidental patriots

rushed unerringly to the sight of blood,
pumped his ebbing heart as one of them

chanted: “Hang on, we love you; trust us,
we love you, your country loves you, God
loves you!” But Cpl. Nathan Cirillo died.

The assassin sneered: “In bullets we trust.”

A year from now, his little Marcus, askance
At five, will know that they buried his father
One rainy autumn day in this field of heroes.
He will scarcely remember that magistrates
Of a grateful land stuttered quiet gratitude
While they looked at this wee lad march tall
Alongside his father’s bier, flag in one hand,
His mother’s clasped in the other, little palms
Still steady, still lusting to clutch kite strings
Flown toward the grey skies bidding goodbye
To his friend and hero, Nathan Cirrilo, Dad
On most days, Sir Brave Argyle Soldier today,
When teary-eyed grand magistrates told him
They will always have this abiding gratitude
And faith that he, too, one day, will be a hero
Who would make the last supreme sacrifice
Of laying down his life like a patriot’s son,
For his Canada, his home and native land.
Sir Argyle Marcus, son of Argyle Cpl. Cirillo.


Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, Oct. 28, 2014


*Revised from Oct. 26 version.

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