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 22, 2011

I talk to God from insomnia (Hablo a Dios desde el insomnio)

From my Dad’s book Urgent poetry (Poesía de urgencia).

I talk to God from insomnia (Hablo a Dios desde el insomnio)

At the verge of insomnia I bless you
with my word, elemental and pure
pronounced and written without witness
or measure, nor a trace of bitterness,
certain about your ear that listens to me
from the silence of my emptiness,
in the clamour of the daily struggle
and in the anonymity of my loneliness.

I owe gratitude to Life and Death.
Everything I have searched for I have had
and everything that I argued about and have earned
like Quixote’s saddlebag’s is now my fate.

When my Poetry knocks on your door
I hope you open it.
I used my hands in the craftsmanship
of modelling ideas and words:
this was my trade, Lord, and my quarrel.

Your were mercy by the handful
and watered my garden with dew,
a land of thistles grew white lilies
and on the edge of my thirst you placed a river.

I want to live in spite of the long
battle of every day
as I still have duels and quarrels
for my people, my bittersweet burden.

I will reach the old age of a log
filled with solitude and dryness
and someone will be able to say that I sounded
when they knocked on me at noon
like a bell with a throaty sound.

I am now exiting insomnia.  The day invades
the window, uncontainable.
and when I look out into the morning I show
my usual respect for the God of Joy.

¡I am an expert in grave afflictions and affections
and in embarrassing insults and compliments,
now José Luis awaits without a fear
for your divine calling bugles!

1 comment:

  1. Wow. I really enjoyed this. I don't really know how to describe it, but his feelings come from deep within and are clearly meant for God's ears. I thankfully rarely suffer from insomnia, but my mom does. I'm sure she would relate to his yearning. Thanks, love, for sharing this! Now I must head to bed for my beauty sleep ;)