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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, January 6, 2016


MY POEMS TODAY: A stab at defining what it means to be happy. That is our business while we are alive, isn't it? Let's work on it.

(For All My Love Ones)
I never said I’d stopped playing. /… your turn now/ to guess which one is hiding the sun. ---Luisa A. Igloria, “Letter to Fortune”, Morning Porch

1. Game One
“Quick, guess where the pebble is,
and if you do, you will be happy!”

What if this were the only wager
in a game of chance of opening
and closing a cup over a rolling
pebble, not unlike the hide-’n-seek
the sun plays now with clouds
darting hither and thither with
winds blowing from all directions?

Will you take it? Will I dare?
What have we got to lose,
one way or another? I hold
your hand and you squeeze mine,
a signal to choose the arrant hiding cup,
and voila: I miss it. Happiness, too?

Happy is as happy does: you are
with me to roll the dice. Would I care
willy-nilly where happiness lies?
Under the cup where the pebble
has custody of nothing, least of all
my joie de vivre — you, my love,
who will be my ransom should I
lose this game of chance?

2. Game Two (After a Letter to Fortune)

“Quick now, guess now: high winds
rearrange the clouds, having learned
too about this game of chance.
Which one is hiding the sun? Which?
Mind the wager: if you fail this test,
should you pin the tail on the wrong
side of the donkey, or choose poorly,
you will keep on guessing all your life
whether or not you can be happy.”

Happy is as happy does: you are
with me to roll the dice. Would I care
willy-nilly where happiness lies?
With you, my love, neither wind nor
cloud will hide the sun. You are my sun.
Should I choose madly, choose badly,
what of it? I never said I’d stop playing.

—Albert B. Casuga

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