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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, April 15, 2013


This is Poem #15 in our series of poem responses to the Big Questions (as defined by Philosophy Professor Simon Blackburn) to celebrate National Poetry Month (NaPoMo, April 2013). As an interregnum, this poem should bring the reader back to what the series was all about---the task of man as a homo sapiens is to ask questions while he is around, because his effort to answer them also defines whether or not his existence is meaningful, as transient as it is while it lasts.

Why bother to ask these questions, when they could not be answered Now?


What good is a brilliant question,
If it could not be answered now?

Of what use is an inchoate answer,
That begs the essential question?

It is the cat catching its tail, a snake
Swallowing itself, it is the circle
That will not break, a spinning gyre
Spitting back unanswered riddles.

Is not time past after all the now
We worry an answer for? Is it time

To be anxious for, when tomorrow
Has not gone past the hurdle Now?

A condemnation by circuit pulses,
Is always an unanswered curse.

That is precisely the imprecision
That presides over the fate of man

Who must answer for a finitude
He did not want nor grovelled for.

Why must time past be time future,
When there is no now save a passing

Passion for all that looks beautiful
For just a little while, a vanishing

Vision---a grand mansion of thought,
A perishing still point, a broken
Promise of eternity he cannot know,
Nor understand for its briefness?

He will ask all the bright questions,
But they cannot be answered now.


* This poem was inspired by a post by Ohio poet Hannah Stephenson. "How do we know/ what now is /if it’s always passing/ through us/ before we can get a good/ grip on it. ---From “What Do You Have in That Headlock”, Hannah Stephenson, The Storialist

Simon Blackburn, The Big Questions, Philosophy, 2009, Quercus Publishing Plc, London, UK. Mr. Blackburn is a philosophy professor at the University of Cambridge in England.

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