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).

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Memory of dignity (Memoria de la dignidad)

From my Dad’s book Urgent Poetry (Poesía de urgencia).

Memory of dignity (Memoria de la dignidad)

She used to remember childhood days.
Siblings, parents, friends,
and the paternal house and the alleyways
of the town, and the school
at fourteen years of age
and the final surrender according to her own dreams,
and the distance and then the loneliness,
at fifteen years of age
with a flesh and bone doll and life in her arms,
and what came later and the hope
of pretending and recovering
so many small things and others
like the dignity that one day she had
in her housewife’s hands
with powers and duties and authority
and the right to raise her voice
to ask for respect in this home
that is a home and is “also my battle
of today, of yesterday and perhaps of tomorrow.”

It used to upset me not wanting to see her
except for with my senses and ignoring her
in her rush of pursued female
searching for the lost dignity
that she used to feel that she could find again
on the shadow
of an impossibly inhospitable love.

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