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).

Friday, January 21, 2011

The words (Las palabras)

Any writers out there?  What do you think about this poem from my Dad’s book Under the shadow (Sombrabajo)?

The words (Las palabras)

Every word should have
the privilege of being inflexible, permanent, unalterable,
firm in their vocation of expressing an idea,
one single idea, with certainty,
with no paths that could lead to misunderstanding
nor adjustments, nor double meaning.

Ambiguity turned
the essential value of the word upside down.
Made the word ambivalent,
sometimes irascible, cheerful, malevolent, sombre,
the contradictory entity,
contradictory and antonymic in itself.

For example the words brother or friend
should be rigorously reserved
to sing the harmony of a species,
a common feeling about things
and the hope that these end up
in the communion of one single sadness.

1 comment:

  1. I like the idea of using words as symbols for abstract concepts. That these concepts should mean something solid - without qualification - is an interesting thought. It is idealism but that's okay. It is calming to imagine a world where, freedom, kindness and love were "permanent, unalterable".