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 4, 2011

The enemy (El enemigo)

Sodom and Gomorrah are cities mentioned in the Book of Genesis and later expounded upon throughout the Hebrew Bible, the New Testament and Deuterocanonical sources.

According to the Torah, the kingdoms of Sodom and Gomorrah were allied with the cities of Admah, Zeboim and Bela. These cities, also known as the "cities of the plain," were situated on the Jordan river plain in the southern region of the land of Canaan. The Jordan river plain has been compared to that of the Garden of Eden [Gen.10:13], being a land well-watered and green, suitable for grazing livestock. Divine judgment by Yahweh was then passed upon Sodom and Gomorrah along with two other neighbouring cities that were completely consumed by fire and brimstone. Neighbouring Zoar was the only city to be spared during that day of judgment [Deut.29:23][Gen.10:19].

In Christian and Islamic traditions, Sodom and Gomorrah have become synonymous with impenitent sin, and their fall with a proverbial manifestation of God's wrath [Jude 1:7][1]. Sodom and Gomorrah have also been used as metaphors for vice and homosexuality viewed as a deviation. The story has therefore given rise to words in several languages, including the English word "sodomy", used in so-called sodomy laws to describe sexual acts deemed unnatural.

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

The enemy (El enemigo)

On the highest corner of the city
the nuns pray. Celestial lighting-rods,
sweet voices that dialogue with God.

But before them the Devil was lord
of those domains. He would from time to time
come down to India and a trail of light would follow
the incorporeal satanic vision.

The enemy used to enjoy his morning
in the King Kong and India (Sodom and Gomorrah)
among sulphur and sparks and women.

Now India is a memory and in King Kong
the nuns pray.

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