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).

Monday, June 27, 2011

The roundabouts (Las glorietas)

I never thought of roundabouts as anything more than complex, dangerous urban planners’ excuses for not making bridges. Dad seemed to see much more in them. From his book Elementary motherland (Patria elemental).

The roundabouts (Las glorietas)
When the streets separated the sidewalks
and the windows, the afternoon breeze
marked the beginning of the roundabouts.

The vespertine rocking chairs
came out to the warm air, and the daily words
came closer, the vocabulary of friendship.

From roundabout to roundabout
always the honest “good night”,
certain trivial but transcendental things
in the tenderness of dusk!

Flustered, the sojourner walks on the
free path on the pavement and says hi
recognising kind faces.
Sometimes he stops and finds a place for him
in the intimacy of the roundabout.

Later the tardiness of the sleep
measured by a persistent clock.
The evening dew watches in silence
the loneliness of the roundabouts. 

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