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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 22, 2013


This is Poem #25 in my series of poem-a-day responses to the Big Questions to mark National Poetry Month (NaPoMo, April 2013. Can we be any bigger or better than those who came before us? Why is this necessary to find life significant and meaningful? How big can we become?


The space cleared/is bigger than they were/ the maker of the snow angel/ once they get up from the ground.---From “Personal Space” by Hannah Stephenson, The Storialist

I thought it was the other way around:
When one is no longer there, he will be
bigger than the space he occupied. I
cannot begin to gather the memories
grown rampant of those I have loved
and lost, they will fill my days to the brim.

How can I run with my father through
those fields with a wayward kite? How
can I sing those goodbye songs in my
abuela’s tremulous voice? Will I keep
in tempo with grandfather’s steps when
I find myself walking up the winding
stairwells, my little palms in his hands?

Will I tell those tales of enchanted
elves and flirting fairies as animatedly
as grandmother Teodora, and hold
my own grandchildren in thrall? How
large a space must I have to grow with
them while I keep this quiet watch over
the rhythm of days as we bravely wait?

I will not be able to fill these spaces you
have carved yourselves when you were
here---they overwhelm me with grandeur.
How will I cope with the largeness of your
presence now that you have gone from us?

Like the lad who threw himself on the snow
to create his winged likeness, I find my
snow angel larger than I am achingly small
engulfed by lingering memories of your
abiding love and immeasurable greatness.



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