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).

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

May the 18th of 1875 (Mayo 18 de 1875)

From my Dad’s book Elementary motherland (Patria elemental), 136 years after The earthquake of Cúcuta, also known as The Earthquake of the Andes, completely wiped out Cúcuta, the city where I was born and spent the first 16 years of my life

May the 18th of 1875 (Mayo 18 de 1875)

For your wrinkles and for the cracks on your
skin planted with almond trees,

for the roof of your sun made into
flame and for the fire in the lines
of your horizon,

for the anonymity of the heroic
surviving under the burning ruins,

and for the air that is not anymore the breeze of the
banks of your river and the sudden posthumous rain,

I say that Death is running loose between
a roar of volcanoes and subterranean
hoarse echoes.

All the loose noises,
the symphony of the fanfare!

All left of you is the space. A place in
the Cosmos.

All was loneliness afterward. And dust
and defeated rock and stone walls.

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