My photo
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, August 31, 2015


Why must one believe? How can one believe? Why believe in Life, Love, and Letting Go? Why and when must one make his leap of faith, or not at all?


When the torch of desire burns clean
you would have learned all there is to learn:

To give, Datta. To feel and care, Dayadhvam.
To own and control, Damyata.Therefore,

To love beyond all loving because it is pure
like the mother suckles her infant. Give.

To know when caring will make things grow
like the raindrops nourish but will not sting.

To have and to hold even when that lashes
irreducible hurts to weary hearts that care.

It is for this that, naked, we halloo in the rain,
Let it come! Let all desires fill our dry vessels.

Then we wake to the warm caress of the Sun
for the day is always new, the flower lovely.

Is not the rose lovelier when its thorns sharpen?
Does not the potter’s knife need its razor edge

to pare the lips of the wine jar and smoothen
its mouth that lovers may drink to full desire?

Bare your body then to its wild abandon, salve
it with the cool spring water now welled

from the earth, and open your mouth to kiss
the sunlight, defy the anguish. Never say, not yet.

Let it come! Let the leaves fall on this Upanishad,
because the leap of faith is never to say Not yet.


Tuesday, August 18, 2015


MY POEM TODAY goes back to the sea for those old sounds, the old sights, so familiar with my growing up. I was an only son, and had sisters to protect. Like this young lad who has his sisters covered.


(For the Wee Ones at the Beach)

There is where here is:
Do you hear the murmur
Of the seawaves laving this shore?

It is the whispered caress of a mother
Come upon her little ones’ romping
Among the sundown shadows.

Where the flushed horizon
Meets the sea, a father’s
Face gleams ruddy 

With laughter’s heat
Still on his crinkled brow.

O, that this cacophony of sounds
Becomes the noise of a lifetime
This heart (from a distance)
Could hearken to, leap up to,
Velvety notes of a joie de vivre

That this place was built for,
Made of, remembered by:

Is this not, after all, the paradise
He thought was lost in time past
Visited now upon his dotage

When he hankers for joy,
A little life left while there is time?

The little shadows taunt the sea
To reach their limbs. Gleeful,
Their now surprised screams,
When touched at last, are drowned
By whimper of the ebbtide waves
That has turned to gentle laughter.


Saturday, August 15, 2015


MY POEM TODAY IS ABOUT WHEN LOVE IS MOST NEARLY ITSELF. These poems were prompted by the post of Thich Nhat Hanh on How to Love, Love and what it is, and what it does. (See my post in comment section below for photo of his book "How to Love")


"For us, there is only the trying. The rest is not our business/ ...Love is most nearly itself/ Where here and now cease to matter./ Old men ought to be explorers/ Here and there does not matter/ We must b...e still and still moving/ Into another intensity...From “East Coker, The Four Quartets, T. S. Eliot

Because we could not hold on to love
As it must be held, given pure and free,
We can only try to find what is most
Nearly itself, until we get to a still point.

Time does not define where that may be,
But it must linger in the mother’s breasts,
When she suckles her infant into a life
Where there is nothing but uncertainty.

How precariously certain is this mock-up
Of staying alive when it is impermanence
That most resembles it? A will-o’-the-wisp
Or a cruel mirage hounds us, it is there

But not here. Why love then, or live at all?
When uncertain weather is most certain,
Why dare fritter precious lifetime on this
Uncharted clearing? It is our yoke to try.

We will perish trying, measure dying by
How true our exploring must be, we
Cannot stop, we simply move into another
Space, with flaming eagerness or anger.


Wednesday, August 12, 2015


MY POEM TODAY was prompted by this post shared with me by poet Felix Fojas who suggested I write a poem on his grief. I said I would not be rid of the pain in my heart about this victim in the 1945 bombing of Nagasaki in Japan during WWII until I let it out in a poem. I asked him to write a poem, too. Here is "SAYONARA".


(For all the Children who perished from the Bomb)

I must hurry before they set it on fire,
I must hurry to where they built the pyre.
I must lay you gently down, my brother,
I must save you, Hiro, from some more pain.

There, beyond, Otosan waits for you, to carry you
To where Mother builds a little hut with tatami
Where you will all lie down to rest at sundown,
Where you are all far from the burning cloud.

Father and Mother will no longer be lonely.
Sayonara, Hiro, my little brother. I will not weep.

August 11, 2015, 70 years after the bombing of Nagasaki

Thursday, August 6, 2015


MY POEM TODAY IS A SET OF HAIKUS YOKED TO OBJECTIFY THE HORRIFYING EXPERIENCE OF THE USE OF THE FIRST ATOMIC BOMB AS AN INSTRUMENT OF WAR. On August 6, 1945, The American War Plane Enola Gay dropped the Atomic Bomb that the US invented and approved by President Truman to be dropped on the Japanese City to purportedly end World War II. What an end it was. Might this happen again?

(For all the Victims of War, Lest We Forget)
It was easy to
let the Big Boy go, Enola
Gay, it simply killed.

No, not just bodies,
But a country's broken soul:
Ruptured, killed, kaput.

Slay the children,
Memories cannot perish.
They remain alive.

It is sepuku,
Harakiri, and all that
too, stemming war.

Incinerate all
children and otosans too,
stop this damn war.

It goes on to kill
more in old Nagasaki
while damn Yankees cheer.

Hiroshima, we
still mourn for human cruelty
that came as a cloud.

August 6, 2015

The story behind LIFE photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt's image of a mother and child in the wasteland of 1945 Hiroshima: