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).

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The year 1773 (Año 1733)

Mrs. Juana Rangel de Cuellar (1649 - 1736) was the founder of the city of Cúcuta. The philanthropist donated 782 hectares of land in a site called Guaimaral in 1733. The rest of the story will be told in installments every day in the form of a poem during the next few weeks. Stay tuned.

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

The year 1773 (Año 1733)

On the way to Tonchalá
the traveller finds lodging for his fatigue,
water for his pilgrim thirst
and a voice of encouragement
for the long way to go.

The breeze in the cacao orchard
and the blossomed summer flowers
tell us that the matron rests.

Mrs. Juana Rangel de Cuéllar,
the generous one, sometimes leaves
the wintery mist of Pamplona
and retires in her country estate in Tonchalá.

The traveller brings news from
the city recently founded.
There is a beehive rumour
along the regal road under the shade.

If anyone enquires in the middle of the night
(in case they do not walk by swiftly)
about the scents and the flowers,
the rumour and the fruits, the breeze will
inform them that it is Mrs. Juana who blossoms.

No comments:

Post a Comment