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, May 24, 2011

To an artist (A un artista)

I think I owe it to my Dad to not say that much about who inspired this poem, only that I know exactly what he meant and how he felt.  Reading this I feel a strong connection between him and I.  I can just picture him writing and admiring his subject.  From my Dad’s book The celebrated afternoon (La tarde festejada).

To an artist (A un artista)

He used to carry with him
sad stories and hopes
but he knew how to take refuge
in his confidence.

He loved women
with goatish impetus
and loved every human being that caught
the radiant humour
of his exasperated adolescence.
The fire of his grey eyes
melancholic in occasions
used to seal the deal that led
to the plenitude of love.

He vibrated like a fragile cane
in adverse winds.

The privilege of his voice
and his miraculous and agile fingers
discovered torrents of music
in the guitar, companion
of his bohemia and his dreams.

He sang like a mystic prays,
chin up and eyes closed;
while with his hands he followed
the itinerary of
an imaginary score…

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