Why do this?

My father, José Luis Villamizar Melo, passed away in my home town of Cúcuta, Colombia, in August last year. The law and economics were Dad's profession, but literature, history and academia his passion. He wrote and published several books, articles and book chapters. The thing is that so many people have missed out on his work, particularly on his beautiful poetry, which he wrote in Spanish prior to the world wide web. So I thought, what a better way to keep Dad's legacy alive than to bring his writing beyond his world and share it with mine. That is why I am translating over 250 of my Dad's poems to English and publishing them here, one a day, Monday to Friday during 2011 (Dad, a family man, always believed that you shouldn't work on weekends).

Thursday, January 6, 2011

John Doe (N.N.)

Ok, I really struggled with this one from Dad’s book Under the shadow (Sombrabajo).  By the way, if you would like to find your name in The Book of Saints Names click here. 
Over to you…
John Doe (N.N.)
He could have been called anything
but they wanted that this day gave them the name
so they could name him by the definition
from the Book of Saints Names.
And ever since they called him that, by a name,
to keep count of his years
now without any chance of confusion
in the impalpable book and with no end to the affection.
He walked his name on the street,
the river, the savannah, the deserts  with burning sun,
the girls, his friends,  the school
and his first dreams.
Grandmother used to find in her memories
ancestors who were named just like him
and she would pretend to find the lineage
on the growing horizontal creases
of her grandson’s forehead.
He was a simple man, with no repercussions,
the taxonomy of a human being
who had to carry that name,
with the definition from the Book of Saints Names,
to keep count of his years
with confidence and without the risk of losing it.

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