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).

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Cobblestone road (Calle de piedra)

This poem from my Dad’s book Elementary Motherland (Patria Elemental) reminds me of that old house in the middle of Monash Caulfield campus.  It has survived decades of progress and education and its owners will not move to allow further development.  What a treasure, what a will!

Cobblestone road (Calle de piedra)

This cobblestone road, lonely, talks about what
the other roads looked like when the tram used to
travel through them
helped by the bell that announced its
hasty step.

Its engine would climb from the station,
breathless, skirting footpaths lined by almond trees.

In each stone, each brick,
each new tree, each shadow that is not the same
as it was yesterday, the city can be felt
and a great legend can be written
about its history: the secret of that unique road, that narrow
cobblestone road in the middle of progress
now without almond trees, nor a tram or its bell.

1 comment:

  1. What a vivid image - I can see the almond trees and hear the tram bell. This poem conveys a sense of regret for what is lost but also seems to be a warm tribute to fond memories.