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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.

Sunday, December 11, 2011



(For Marie Clementine)*

Was it cold water poured on your head
that jolted you into a cranky howl?
Who dared break your noontime sleep? 

A kindly old man with a blank cowl
said he has simply prepared for one
not there who would bring fire instead. 

I baptize only with water, but he for whom
I cry in this wilderness, whose shoe straps
I am unworthy to untie, he will use fire. 

Was it this fire from the fireless fount
that roused you then from your slumber,
where you must have giggled and played 

with the elves that sang you a lullaby?
It is the flame of my father’s spirit I burn
you with, sear you with his eternal love! 

Was it his ardent caress then that woke
you up to a quick cry of surprise not pain,
was it his outstretched hand on your head? 

Did he touch you, Marie, on your brow,
and asked: Will you be my lamb and follow
me, build the campfire to warm my flock? 

It will be very cold tonight at the stable.
Was it his gentle palm on your face then,
that eased your angry yell into a tender sob? 

Was he there, Marie? Did he smile at you?

---Albert B. Casuga

*Baptised as a follower of Jesus Christ at St. Francis of Assisi Parish Church, Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, December 11, 2011, in the presence of her parents, Martin Lalonde and Adele Frances Casuga, her godparents, Alvin Kwan and April Veronica Casuga-Kwan, her grandparents  Albert and Veronica Casuga and Roger and  Therese Lalonde, nine Casuga-clan cousins, aunts and uncles, and family friends. Deacon Rev. Mr. Don Roberts, on behalf of Parish Pastor Rev. Joseph Grima, officicated.

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