I truly hope that 2011 is a positive year for you and your loved ones. Now, here is something I'd like to share with you.
As you may know, my father, José Luis Villamizar Melo, passed away in my home town of Cúcuta, Colombia, earlier this year. After nine years of a progressively debilitating health due to a stroke, my old man rested. He left this world surrounded by my Mum, who was by his side for more than 50 years, his five children, seven grandchildren, siblings, extended family and friends. The city of Cúcuta mourned his passing and I saw once again how loved my father was by all those who in one way or another were touched by his generosity, wisdom and love.
Dad was an incredibly intelligent man. The law and economics were his 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 missed out on his amazing 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 work beyond his world and share it with mine. I have decided to translate over 250 of my Dad's poems into English and publish them here, one a day, Monday to Friday during 2011 (Dad, a family man, always believed that you shouldn't work on weekends).
This will be an arduous task, as Dad's writing was highly stylised and he used the very ornamented Spanish vocabulary he learnt as an avid classics reader. However, I am excited to re-visit the poetry that filled my home growing up and to place it in the light of my current home, English-speaking Melbourne. Please bare with me as I get used to this blogging thing and as my translation skills improve. I look forward to your feedback, questions, interpretations and words of encouragement.
Now, just because it's the first day of the new year, without further ado, here is the first poem. See you back on Monday. Wish me luck! Andrés
From the book La Tarde Festejada (The celebrated afternoon)
I do not recognise this silence of mine
that made of my verse a prisoner,
forgotten lute, broken star
truncated rose, empty heart.
Of the holy verse I was the bearer
and I possessed high rank and ample power
and I still entrust in my old genius
my daily labour of a potter.
I shape the word like clay,
docile to the art of my pure hands
that forge it and take it to the shore of the dreams…
Oh God of Harmony
allow me to pierce into the
inscrutable depth of poetry!