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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, May 26, 2013


(For Lila Shahani, Who Finds Hope in the Rain)


Lluvia! Lluvia! It was a chant
sung at the top of our voices,
croaking like frogs hopping
from the rice paddies. Rain! Rain!

Naked, our hallooing was no match
for our scrawny bodies carousing,
running through the monsoon
downpour like scampering chicken.

The rain at the edge of the woods
is not the same rain where we got
lost like cascading lilies rushing
through boulders at the field’s edge.

Rain rips foliages off their branches
like surly gardeners cutting off twigs
from blackened trees and bushes
to prepare for a long, dreary winter.

Lost in autumn’s mayhem, yellow
leaves reel in a wild wind dance
pitching them off to unseen crannies
to rot in the rain like all things must.

But it is not this dying we rue. Lost,
gone in the fall of discarded days,
we scarcely remember rain dances
where we were naked, free, and happy.

— Albert B. Casuga



We even have rain dances, Stick, to pray for rain.
But we still have our little deserts despite that.

The Hopi have it, the Navajo, the Igolots. The lot.
Mayans, Aztecs, and all the prayers they have got.

In the old country, tots still sing that song while
they halloo in the rain, bathing naked in the rain.

“I’m singing in the rain, just singing in the rain.
I’m happy in the rain, just happy in the rain…”

Why can’t I recall those Gene Kelly lyrics? Dang!
Oh, to feel that downpour on my face again!

In Ranchipur, they un-learned rain-prayers.
Monsoon scares even the farmers and fishermen.

Grade schoolers have even learned another ditty:
“Rain, Rain, go away, come again another day.”

Schoolhouses float in floods brought by monsoon
rains from Indonesia to China. Now Australia.

It’s summer at last, but does it have to be humid?
Poor chap over there has a dour face. He gazes

at his garden, at the portion given to all that moss,
looks back at stunted buds on his rotting trellises.

Like a sad farmer who has lost a crop. Like a sad
father who needed the money to send a kid to school.

“Into each life, some rain must fall…a rolling stone
gathers no moss,” my roused errant friend snapped.

Tracing a searing Gobi in that man’s countenance,
I grabbed its scruff and mumbled: Shut up, Stick!

—Albert B. Casuga

*These Poems were prompted by a post written by Lila Shahani, Assistant Secretary (for Communications), in the Philippine Government.
..."He missed the darker magic of the city at dawn, right after the rains -- sky still phosphorescent -- when, once again, everything is washed anew. When children run in the streets and every dim-lit corner is already rushing with the mad flow of exuberant, occasionally exquisite, life.---Lila Shahani, FB post, May 26, 2013

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