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).

Thursday, February 17, 2011

My soul will die later (Mi alma morirá después)

On my Dad’s ‘would have been’ 80th birthday, from his book Under the Shadow (Sombrabajo).  Happy birthday Dad!  I love you.

My soul will die later (Mi alma morirá después)

“The soul will die
on the other side of the West Mountains”
Hendrick Van Loon talks about
the civilisation of the Valley of Nile.

I say go west but the stroll of today, yesterday or tomorrow
may as well be in any other cardinal direction
between the anguish and
the solitude that fill inner spaces
displacing the plenitude of fugacious facts
and the nameless and endless restlessness.

Every morning I say good bye to my things
and to my children and to the woman who shares my hours,
I go through the gate of ordinary transit
and I progress in the certain uncertainty
that surrounds my daily universe.
I carry my fatigue, my conspicuous silence,
my obligation of being, of remaining,
of defending the square meter of land in which I may be standing,
my right to avoid mediocrity,
to fight by battle.

I know that the word of the One who said it will not die
because it is eternal.  Yet when at dawn I separate myself
from my things, my wife, my children and my dreams,
I will accept in advance the cruel, the outrageous,
the irascible, the unknown,
but I will not witness the death of my soul:
which will return home
and only when the entity of oblivion commences
it will begin its journey to the West Mountains.

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