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 9, 2011

Master Manuel (Maestro Manuel)

Simón José Antonio de la Santísima Trinidad Bolívar y Palacios Ponte y Blanco, commonly known as Simón Bolívar (Caracas, July 24, 1783 – Santa Marta, December 17, 1830) was a Venezuelan military and political leader. Together with José de San Martín, he played a key role in Latin America's successful struggle for independence from the Spanish Empire, and is today considered one of the most influential politicians in South American history.

Following the triumph over the Spanish Monarchy, Bolívar participated in the foundation of the first union of independent nations in Latin America, which was named Gran Colombia, and of which he was president from 1819 to 1830.

Simón Bolívar remains regarded in Hispanic America as a hero, visionary, revolutionary, and liberator. During his lifetime, he led Bolivia, Colombia, Perú, Ecuador, Panamá, and Venezuela to independence, and helped lay the foundations for democratic ideology in much of Hispanic America.

From my Dad’s book Elementary motherland (Patria elemental).

Master Manuel (Maestro Manuel)

If you want to have your horoscope read
or to have a postcard painted at your home,
ask Manuel Mantilla.

Manuel Mantilla is the barber
in the city of the epopee of 1813.

Stern guide, white coat, the confidence
of an artist at work.

Now Simón Bolívar arrives at his shop.
In his hair he brings entangled
the recent memories lived up the river
and town by town.

In war and in love almost always triumphant.

Concluded the wise craftsmanship,
Manuel was right to withdraw his shaky hand,
hide his scissors and exclaim: No more, barber!

He returned to reading horoscopes
and became a scrivener and a postman.

He cultivated until death only one memory.

Once the Glory was under the
power of his hands!

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