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, June 23, 2011

Antonio Clavijo

Do you know "that guy" in town that everybody tolerates but wishes he would just go away? From my Dad’s book Elementary motherland (Patria elemental).

Antonio Clavijo
Without the presence of Antonio Clavijo,
a long passage of history and some of what is already lost
could not have been written.

To paint a picture of you, Antonio,
Luis del Valle, now in the shadows,
gave me your address.

The central path in the cemetery
was your nightly walk. And among noises and sad souls
you imposed your leadership with liberal loquacity,
you, chief and rebellious actor.

Now you do not walk along the streets with your coat
(worthless walker stocked with all kinds of waste).
Now you are not the scandalmonger of your politic instincts,
nor do you fire triumphant rockets,
or visit the Parliament House, and you are not…

Soon it will be dawn, you will have to return to your hole,
while I remember you, Antonio,
among the many lost things…one of them you,
the Village Idiot.

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