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).

Monday, March 28, 2011

Depression (Depresión)

Here is a poem from my Dad’s book The celebrated afternoon (La tarde festejada) that elicits once again that constant aura of anguish he expressed through his literary work, that incessant battle with his inner demons; battle that he embraced, often without being certain of what it was that pained him.  I’ve heard that the soul of an artist is more susceptible to suffering, as artists love with intensity, but also hurt easily. 

Depression (Depresión)
Take my hand, Depression,
treat me with familiarity
just like years ago
you inhabited me.
Possess me.
Do with me whatever you want.

Do not tell me
what brings you to my mind,
through my skin that gets goose bumps
when you touch it softly, slowly,
from head to toe,
through my voice that falls silent,
through my hand that loses energy,
through my verse that cannot escape
from my inner hell.

Depression, take advantage of this,
I am blank, expand yourself,
settle in me…
But for God’s sake!
Vanish me.


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