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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.

Thursday, April 12, 2012



The Carolina wren goes from querulous chirps to full-throated denunciations from the top of the dead cherry tree. But the snow continues.---Dave Bonta, The Morning Porch

Did the wren say “Occupy!”? Sounded like a cackle.
So much depends upon full-throated protests
where no one listens except the panhandlers
looking for the best spots to put their coin pots in.

Did Wall Street listen? Will child labour cease in
Bangladesh? Brave hearts will yell, some get jailed.
Most curse the dark, but would not light candles.
What else is new? That’s what mouths are for, eh?

The wren on top of the dead cherry tree shakes snow
off its wings, skips on to a larger branch, cackles,
and flies off to a garbage bin at the Seniors Home
where even that is sheltered from revisiting snow.

She looked out of her frosted window,
saw the scavenging bird peck a hole
into one of the handsomely-lined bags,
and screamed: get the damn bird off
those garbage bags, shut its cackling up!

The building superintendent looked up
at her, shrugged, and sipped his cold tea.
It is a wren, missus, and 
it's better off
in the dumpster than on the dead tree.
Better for it to eat dirty than fly hungry.

The wren stayed silent, missus cackled.
Healthy worms wriggled out of the bags.

—Albert B. Casuga;

These are Poems 12 and 13 in our poem-a-day project to celebrate National Poetry Month. The first is a fable, the second is better understood as an allegorical effort. Triggered by Dave Bonta's The Morning Porch, 04-11-12.

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