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, May 20, 2011

Elegy of my shadow (Elegía de mi sombra)

Underneath his loud, extroverted persona, Dad was a humble man who often didn’t know the reach of his generosity, of his kindness, the impact that he could have on people.  From my his book Twilight theory (Teoría del crepúsculo).

Elegy of my shadow (Elegía de mi sombra)

Nobody will notice my shadow.

I will carry it with
the utmost care, as it is impossible
for me to measure its height.

At midday the vertical complicity
of the sun will suit me
to hide in it.

Even if the melancholy hurts me
I will give serene boundaries
to the shape of my shadow.
People will then find it
more svelte and more agile
and they will look happy
in the mirror of my sad shadow.

Furthermore if it suddenly shows
I will punish its impetus
and I will make of it a docile shadow
almost imperceptible.

In fortune, where there are
gusts of calm breeze,
modest, never the cause of an offense,
my shadow will be minute and faint.

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