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).

Thursday, May 19, 2011

And now the solitude with no strings (Y ya la soledad sin ataduras)

Tonight I celebrate poem number 100!  And now I’m starting to panic because the more I re-read my Dad’s books the more I realised he cheated a little, which might cause that I run out of poems between now and the end of the year.  I have discovered that Dad often revisited his own poetry, re-published some significant verses from his previous books in new ones, sometimes with a different title, sometimes varying a few lines.  Anyway, I’m not backing up!  I’ll keep going until I have nothing else to translate.

Here’s one that I hold very close to my heart.  I can hear Dad reciting it.  Unfortunately the rhyme doesn’t work as well in English.  Anyway, enjoy it.  From my Dad’s book Twilight theory (Teoría del crepúsculo).

And now the solitude with no strings (Y ya la soledad sin ataduras)

I am very close to the silence.
Now I understand the lineage of the old;
now my word becomes advice,
confidence and healing truth.

I loved the light and come from dawn
traveller to the last reflection
of twilight. The night is the mirror
where the vigilant soul observes itself.

I start to close doors behind me.
I eliminate one by one the uncertain vanities
that I have loved and suffered.

I enjoy a solitude with no strings,
I do not recognise happiness and sorrow,
I love yesterday, the shadow and oblivion.

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