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).

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Anniversary gift (Regalo aniversario) - on my 35th birthday

My father at the age I am now.

My father made sure that none of his children, or anyone in his family ever lacked anything. He also loved celebrating everything: when I got great marks at school, finishing the year and going on summer holidays, memorising all the names of the dinosaurs, losing a tooth and seeing a new one grow, and of course, birthdays, anniversaries and many more special days. And he always showered us with gifts, but the most beautiful of them were his poems. Here is one he wrote to me on my first birthday, 34 years ago.

I miss you Daddy, I really do.

From my Dad’s book Urgent poetry (Poesía de urgencia).

Anniversary gift (Regalo aniversario)

I have a good friend
whose name is Andrés.
I met him on a Sunday
together with my wife.
He came early in the morning
on time for the ten o’ clock mass,
with the hurry of a good Christian
just like his father is.

Andrés derails
in all the corners
of the house
and talks
with birds and flowers,
caresses the whiskers
of his loyal kitten,
enjoys the morning sun
passenger on his pram,
and when you call him “mate”
he answers “dad” and “mum”.

Ten or twelve words
Andrés knows how to say,
to him
who speaks
with his eyes
that is enough.

He turned one
my good friend

To my son Andrés
18 July 1977

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