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).

Friday, June 3, 2011

Your voice from the lounge room where I dream (Tu voz desde la sala donde sueño)

Laura Villalobos de Alvarez, or ‘Laurita’, like my father used to call her, was his dear friend, a consummate poet and avid historian like him. They shared a passion for stylised words, good grammar and perfect intonation. Also for the latest fashion and of course, the deepest love for their families. They had for many years what I saw as a platonic relationship, based on mutual admiration and an addiction for beautiful words in prose and verse. Here is a poem my Dad dedicated to Laurita; a poem that celebrated the music of the opera singer Maria Helenita Olivares. I just can’t find the connection with Laurita…hmmm…Perhaps she loved her music? From my Dad’s book Poesía de urgencia (Urgent poetry)

Your voice from the lounge room where I dream (Tu voz desde la sala donde sueño)

Commemoration of Maria Helenita
Olivares late at night with her voice
(“Ommagio a Mascagni”).

To Laura Villalobos de Alvarez.

Your voice.
The dark lounge where
I dream and write
has been filled
with your voice.

I am alone and I listen.

Your voice brings me back
to the old times
when the little girl Helena
used to walk around the neighbourhood
without knowing that her Star
was seedbed of laurels.

Now the dimension
of your universe is yourself.

Now the world acknowledges your stature
equal or even more than the glory that
the Genious gathered in the music score.

I am alone
and I do not hear you anymore!

Your companion artist
- the horse painter –
will understand my
absence as the protest
that my mournful verse declares.

From this land of yours I would tell you
come with urgency to be among us,
take from your husband a couple of colts,
give them the wings of your melody
and you will arrive Helena and Sassu together
bursting with auroral lights
and clouds and breeze
and then the points
in your city will be forever cardinal!

Cúcuta, June 1978.

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