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, August 5, 2011

Mr José (Don José)

To my grandfather, Don José Villamizar Prato. Unfortunately I did not have the honour of knowing him. From my Dad’s book Urgent Poetry (Poesía de urgencia).

Mr José (Don José)

Before death gave an end
to your trivial story of everyday: your acknowledgement
of being owner without ownership of what
you used to call victory: your honesty, without ambitions,
just like you were, certain that you could see the world
from the sidewalk with its summers and springs
without foreseeing
the deep abyss
of so many things that your being knew,
topics foreign to your rudimentary and pure wisdom,
before all this
I summarised in a poem
the love that I felt when you were so ready
without fear or rush at the station
where you departed on the journey
in which you set off on forever.

And then my song
which was the most appropriate description
of your simple soul, was a sad lyrics.

Now I record your name in the dwelling
that you built with your own hands
in old but unforgotten years,
among the racket of my siblings
and the solidary love of my mother.

Cornejo, May 27/77

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