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 2, 2011

I return my whim (Devuelvo mi albedrío)

This poem makes me reflect on regret and makes me think of the things I have done in life and wish I could erase from my memories or do them over. From my Dad’s book The celebrated afternoon (La tarde festejada).

I return my whim (Devuelvo mi albedrío)

A whim, poor illusion,
reason implicated
in the darkness
of wicked restrictions.
You whim, you take the
wrong ways, you who walk and
go back over roads
that do not take me
to calm places,
inhospitable site
where hope dies,
false freedom.
Whim! Whim! I do not understand
your maps of crossroads
and labyrinths.

I resign my whim,
I return it to whom gave it to me.
In good faith I say to you and I write
that I do not want it, I do not
know how to use it, the training wheels
of the fine adornment have gone mad.

Down with the whim! I find myself
in the middle of the night, of the late night,
on the deserted plain
of silence and scream: Take it! Master
of all things,
my whim was unable
to find the paths that take me to you.
It did not see your footprints.
Please accept the return of my whim
due user misuse.

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