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, July 29, 2011


This is the last poem from my Dad’s book Variations for an epopee (Variaciones para una epopeya) in which he combined his keen interest in history and his passion for poetry, studying the events that shaped Colombia and the characters who played key roles in our Independence from the Spanish Empire.


Dreams must have overwhelmed him.
Realities that felt like dreams.
Yellow wheat fields of the countryside in Boyacá,
fog over the gaps of the narrow mountain passes.
Light of God in the crickets.

On the candles that light up the silent farms
shine without obscurities the excitement of the patriot.
Now death spreads its jasmine scents.
The glass of his life was poured out drop by drop.

Now even the silence is in order.
The celestial flame still burns in his dying eyes.
What a calm journey
and what a beautiful lesson of humility.

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