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).

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The presence of life (Presencia de la vida)

Lately I have been reflecting about the gravity of death and thinking about what it means to grow old, the need for certainty in life and mundane things like life insurance and superannuation, even mortgages.  This poem from my Dad’s book The window and the star (La ventana y la estrella) suggests a kind of stoic view of death, an unconditional surrender to it in life, without fear, with complete resignation.

The presence of life (Presencia de la vida)

I have found the roads in other occasions
travelled in the shadow and forgotten.

I have found the stairs that take you
to eternal, luminous realities.

I have broken ties that used to anoint me
and powerful, would fold the back of my neck.

In freedom my voice touches the skies
and my lips are pure for the hymn.

I acknowledge in everything the presence
of a pair of eyes watching tirelessly.
I see now the human side in His
wing in ascending flight, stopped.

I, who searched for pleasure in caresses.
I, who travelled through tunnels of hatred.
I, who turned my tunic into rags.
I, who ignored the human nature in His name.
I, who denied, denying to myself,
the sweetness of His subtle dominion,
understand in its exact dimension
the human vagueness of sadness
and the melancholy of other hours.

Ah! I pictured LIFE as what DEATH is
and made of DEATH my own confines!

No comments:

Post a Comment