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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.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013


This is Poem #11 in my series of poem responses to the Big Questions posed by philosophers, scientists, theologians, even village cranks, to help celebrate National Poetry Month (NaPoMo, April 2013). Do We Need A God? Why is there a Need to be Good?---Simon Blackburn 

Ubi solitudinem faciunt, pacem appellant --- Tacitus*

Either way, distance finds me
looking up or down this cliff,
an unlikely sanctuary I escape
into aching for scarce solitude.

How can one be alone among
the darting seagulls? Or silent
with lost memories jarred by
blasts of breaking waves below?

Here, gods revel in their haven
of whistling winds and clouds,
down there fishermen cackle,
chewing sargasso, guzzling gin,

while their thrown nets fill up
with flotsam floating around
moss-gowned boulders staring
at the sky like dark green eyes.

Is it this vast and empty space
between that scares me now,
when I should be murmuring
secrets to messenger winds?

I would scream unbearable
pain, holler down bitter anger;
I must share muffled grief,
loosen taut shackles of despair.

Either way, I find wailing walls
in air, water, rocks, and wind;
like Job I weep for peace, hope
to gently fall in the cup of palms

waiting to catch my carrion
now carved out of a shattered
world of faithlessness and fear,
unable to hold on to life or love.

On this piece of jutting rock,
have I not found the little place
where I could reach His Hand
quickly were I to fall, either way?

Simon Blackburn is a philsophy professor at the University of Cambridge in England. His essays "Why Be Good?" (pp. 94 etseq) and "Do We Need God?" (pp. 159 etseq), are included in the The Big Questions, Philosophy, 2009, Quercus Publishing Plc, London,  UK.

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