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).

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The old man used to say… (El Viejo decía…)

Tuesday 16 August 2011

How many times did I say: “Dad, you’ve told me this story a hundred times”? I would kill to hear one of his many whimsical stories just one more time…even in my dreams.

From my Dad’s book The celebrated afternoon (La tarde festejada).

The old man used to say… (El Viejo decía…)

“Whilst the boat
plunges into its hole”.
Antonio Matea, Spanish poet.

have changed.

The voice does not flow now
like it used to 40 years ago: It sounds loveless,

The eyes
 in occasions fulminating,
only want to hide the opacity
that interfere with their light.

The spine barely holds
what is lefts of the old skeleton
a few centimetres shorter
than what the passport informs.

Mystery and Eternity
fly over
the road.

And he used to add: This is why
I try to find a human being
who wants to walk by my side
and listen to me with all the tolerance
in the world, without ever uttering
those horrible words “Do not yell at me”.

A being who reminds me
every morning with a smile
that the sun is burning.

Someone who leans their head
over my chest and says that they still feel
the hear beat strong.

A person in whose lap
my many years lie the sore bones down
with trust;

In whom I can hide the silences,
and to whom I can tell the same old stories
and that love discovers in them
the surprises and originalities
that they inspired, before repeating them
so many times.

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