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, July 25, 2011

Duties (Oficios)

The Areopagus or Areios Pagos (Greek: Άρειος Πάγος) is the 'Rock of Ares', north-west of the Acropolis, which in classical times functioned as the high Court of Appeal for criminal and civil cases in Athens. Ares was supposed to have been tried here by the gods for the murder of Poseidon's son Alirrothios (a typical example of an aetiological myth).

From my Dad’s book Variations for an epopee (Variaciones para una epopeya).

Duties (Oficios)

He learnt to talk with Justiniano
and to tame a colt,
to go deep into the soul of the dispossessed
and to penetrate the jungle, the river, the plains,
he talked about the same things in the halls of the aristocracy
than under a merciful shade
on a narrow mountain pass of the Andes.
He descended to the valley
or ascended to the hill
to confront the enemy,
the same man that climbed the stairs of the Areopagus
armed then with the verb that was with him,
just like the sward,
from the beginning…

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