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 30, 2011

The open-air band plays (La retreta)

To my dear friend Crystal Corman (who used to play saxophone in a band), as she flies across the Pacific on her way back to one of the many places she calls home. From my Dad’s book Elementary motherland (Patria elemental).

The open-air band plays (La retreta)

By the side of the afternoon the open-air band plays.
Profusion of joy and skill in the performers.
Admiring attention in the spectators.
The music completes the vocation for leisure,
introduction to dreaming
in the arduous summer nights.

River breezes in the pentagram
that Elías composed with his hand and soul,
he was the one with deep sorrows.

The grandeur of the fine music: Bach, Beethoven,
Mozart, Tshaikowsky. In the wandering night
clear magical voices of palm trees.

The dim light in the park, appropriate for love
in the warm caressing breeze. The persistent melodies
reach the bench in the shadows.

When it is quiet the time invites to sleep.
The music under the palm tree roofs
will take place another Sunday afternoon.

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