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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, September 19, 2011



…kapirasong guhit ng buwan,/kay layong anino ng haplos. (Translation: that sliver-stroke of moon, / its distant illusion of a caress. ) --- Panalangin (Prayer) by Luisa A. Igloria, Via Negative, 09-18-11

Lakay Tuangan*  looks away from the terraces
after a deep gulp of rice wine, shakes his head
weakly, and lets out a quiet cry: O watch over us,
God of good harvests, Apu Init, Apu Angin,* Father
of these mountains that feed our children, hold us
now in your hands, big winds have taken our grains. 

Wrinkled beyond his years, he stretches his sunburnt
back after picking up his yawning bamboo basket
still empty but for half a root of wild potato sticking 

like an eye torn off from its socket. A beaten warrior.
Even the field rats have no use for the shorn stalks,
maybe the lumbering water buffalo pulled his final 

plow, it will have to do for the slaughter to gather
urgent sacrifice for the angered gods, whose anito*
may have absconded at the first blast of disaster. 

Subdued, he empties his earthen jug into his dry
throat, retches at the sting of the wine on its lines,
looks at the slice of moon, a smile from the sky 

that has darkened quickly to ferry a tent of stars,
a sliver-stroke of moon, a distant illusion of caress.
Shivering from the gust of wind, he folds his arms.

--- Albert B. Casuga

Translations: *Lakay Tuangan, Old man Tuangan;  Apu Init, Apu Angin, Sun Lord, Wind Lord; anito, angry soul, animus.

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