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, March 11, 2011


I keep finding poems which Dad dedicated to family friends whom lost a child. This one is from his book Commemorations (Conmemoraciones).


I still think like I did then.  The same melancholy
when I observe how
my very dear children show off their lives
while the years cloud over your memory.

When you died I spoke about your innocence,
your liveliness, your first letters,
your half understood reading,
the school shoes that do not take you anywhere anymore,
the backpack that does not carry books to school,
the bus in which you no longer count as a passenger,
your empty house, your dolls,
even the opened bottle of medicine, the unused clothes,
and the hand me downs used
to help the needy children
and I spoke about your sad brother.

Now when I mention you
I tremble
just thinking that all the anguish that hardened your world,
your little abandoned universe,
were to burst into the happiness of my children who move forward
on the roads that I start to leave.

To Gilberto and Alba.

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