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, April 8, 2011

The old days (Los días fenecidos)

One more poem revisiting my Dad’s childhood.  It seems that he found refuge writing about his childhood memories whenever he wanted to escape overwhelming feelings of depression, anxiety and sorrow.  He told me many stories about his life in the small country town of Cornejo, I just never knew he longed for those days.  From his book Urgent poetry (Poesía de urgencia). 

The old days (Los días fenecidos)

Surrounded by the wild flowers
that filled the garden
in the sunny savannah,
the grey, rustic house.
We gathered around a large table in our home
the children without reservations
under the presidency of the old folks.
We would eat the food and
they would talk.
(Afterward, the school,
picturesque little small town school
where the teacher was the magic man
who knew about everything in the world).
My parents manufactured unreachable dreams
because they never used to leave the confines
of their lives at the edge of the village.
But my mother
persisted in those dreams
and never completely accepted their avoidance.

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