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 22, 2011

The statue and the valley (La estatua y el valle)

                 Statue of General Francisco de Paula Santander in Parque Santander, Cúcuta

Cúcuta’s central city square, surrounded by the Cathedral and the City Mayor’s Office, is called Parque de Santander. It receives this name because in its centre there is a famous bronze statue of General Francisco de Paula Santander. The statue was created by the German sculptor Carl Bornr and it was inaugurated on the 5th of August 1890. From my Dad’s book Variations for an epopee (Variaciones para una epopeya).

The statue and the valley (La estatua y el valle)

Here it is the image of the Heroe.

Expert noble hands modelled the sculpture,
the physical memory of the man,
the dignity of his carnal exterior…
But inside burns the heat of a soul
manufactured directly by the hands of God,
made of scorching suns,
nourished by the hopeful greens of the valley,
the settled free-spirited impetus of the race,
wise with the wisdom of our traditions
and smelted in the peacefulness of our courage.

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