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, February 25, 2011

There is always one missing in the sum (Siempre en la cuenta falta uno)

Here is a poem from my Dad’s book Urgent poetry (Poesía de urgencia).  He dedicated it to his friends José Luis and María Luisa in memory of their daughter María Claudia.  On my Dad’s behalf, I dedicate it to anyone who has lost a child or a Young member of their family.  

There is always one missing in the sum (Siempre en la cuenta falta uno) 

There is always one missing in the sum.
When checking on the used dolls,
when looking at the inner trees,
when around the large dining table,
when listening to a drop in the bath,
when others play with the new toy
that did not meet the absent, the for-never
guest of the mourning house,
not even when the children get together in a corner of the chamber
to ask about her
who is missing just because, because she
will not be with them anymore,
the sum will ever add up.

The accountancy of always will not interfere
nor the time that goes by so quickly
or the days that bring and take away other thoughts,
or the remaining children who grow up and run
on the lawn and amongst the roses or on the street,
because what was
is not complete, what together made a whole,
when they could say “the children” without counting them.

The father will count day after day
wishing to be wrong.

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