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, August 15, 2011

In Salazar (En Salazar)

Salazar de las Palmas is a Colombian municipality located in the central region of the department of Norte de Santander, only a couple of hours drive from Cúcuta. Dad used to love going there on a day trip, bathe in the cool river, play on the waterfalls and eat carne asada. His description on tonight’s poem paints it as a little piece of heave. Maybe it was. I’m just not sure I appreciated it at the time. From my Dad’s book The celebrated afternoon (La tarde festejada).

In Salazar (En Salazar)

In Salazar the rumour of the river
is music of dreams;
by its bed the legends
originated in remote times
go by.
In Salazar the moon
has a splendid shine;
and to ease its solitude
it surrounds itself by stars.
In Salazar the horizon
is a line bursting with coffee bushes
where the green of the earth meets
the impeccable blue of its sky.
In Salazar all the pentagrams
praise the verse of Víctor Guerrero,
immortal songs of love
and suffered sorrows, just like the Maestro.
In Salazar beautiful woman,
graceful females in bloom
endure their ancestry
and love is still a noble exercise
like the love of the grandparents was.
In Salazar of rich vegetables,
corner of light and open heart,
watches over with her eyes of miracle
the Virgin of Belén.
The old cloth has presided
unfading days
and mourning and silences.
In Salazar there are no remains left
of the intrepid years
the scars
or the painful memories;
with a thread of love filial hands
sewed the flag
that today flies singing
raised on the mast of progress.

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