- Fishing in the River Esk
Alfred A. Yuson has published twenty-two books, including novels, poetry, short fiction, essays, children's stories, and biographies. He contributes columns on literature and culture to two national publications and teaches fiction and poetry at Ateneo de Manila University, where he holds the Henry Lee Irwin Professorial Chair.
He has received eight Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards, including the grand prize in 1987 for his novel Great Philippine Jungle Energy Cafe. His books include the poetry collections Trading in Mermaids, Dream of Knives, and Sea Serpent and the short-fiction collection The Music Child and Other Stories. His play, Luto, Linis, Laba, won top prize in the Full-Length Play Category, Filipino Division, of the Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature in 2000 and was published in book form in 2005. The following poem is from Trading in Mermaids.
For words, I've come down through deep woods in solitary watch. Here I presume the father of the water of life. That's what passes me by, keen-eyed and crouched in the muddy bank of liquid territory. There is a bite and I grapple with the fine arc of remembrance, how it was in another gorge when the quick catch was a summons. [End Page 28] I was also the son then. So am I now, here in late Spring in the Midlothians. Midmornings the salmon and the trout feed on my wait. Eventually we recognize one another. The line grows taut and it is enough to reconcile the slack as at first quiver from a shot of whisky. The words have body. The river cannot run out of it either. And I am wet with answers. The bait itself was source. The sheep bleat in the upper glen and there are echoes to the fish among the skies of casual water.