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).

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The river (El río)

Happy Australia Day!  Tonight I would like to dedicate the uplifting poem The river to the people of our beloved Queensland.   I hope those who were affected are on their way to recovering some kind of ‘normal’.   I would also like to dedicate this poem to country Victoria, where people are still suffering the inclemency of mother nature.  Let’s pray for a better tomorrow.  Here is this poem from my Dad’s book Urgent poetry (Poesía de urgencia). 

The river (El río)

The river will return to its bed tomorrow.
It will be seen calm.
Under the turbulence sands and mud accumulate,
brought by violence from foreign places.
They will fill the basin that hides
under the goosebumpy skin,
Now the uprooted trees descend,
domestic animals taken from their backyards,
stones that man could never move
and the terror of a loud noise.

Whatever is left tomorrow by the river bank,
the filth from the beaches,
the breathless fish, the hangover,
are fragments
of the crazy happiness that suddenly possessed
the serene, fertile, resonant and loyal
complicity between the river and the village.
It is remorse.

The gravity, the sun, the wind,
the pedestrians,
even the same mild waters will wash
the remains off the broad avenue.
Now the memories subside.

The alliance will resume.
The village will be seen again by its river.
Its spotlessness, its shade, its freshness will be praised.
And its purity and calmness.
It is oblivion.

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