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 30, 2011

Poem of the fugitive joys - Part 2 (Poema de los júbilos fugaces - Segunda parte)

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

Poem of the fugitive joys - Part 2 (Poema de los júbilos fugaces - Segunda parte)

There were no good mornings,
nor conventional greetings, love used to flow
in this tongue without complications
that is mutual language of lovers.
The thread of the telephone
used to bring me your voice.
The things that you used to say
were always the same beautiful things
that occupied the candour of illusory dreams,
the time when we met, for example,
the place you were walking by,
the excitement of “should I say something?”
and the certainty of the love that you used to repeat
in a taciturn goodbye cut short.

It was my belief that I did not know your name.
You lived in the world
but the world was the address that you used to give me.
I did not understand your signals
nor the place of your dreams
or your name, different to that name
that I learnt by heart,
nor where you came from
or where you disappeared to, sweet friend of mine.

What taciturn night
will destroy this voice that sings to you?
What wind will take
to what faraway places
these verses that I write
for your eyes only?

I would say that you were
like an abandoned road when I turned into
its only traveller.
I took the course and the shadow
and we became one,
road and traveller.
Forward went our steps.
You would suddenly interrupt the harmony
of flowers and songs
that bordered the road
when you would look back.
Then you would scare away the dreams
that preceded the joyful stride
of the traveller.

Where will you be in this moment
my transient loved one
who gave me honey from honeycombs
still filled by the rumour
of the hard working bees?
You passed by hasty like the wind
in my city of winds and
of breezes.
A vision of you
will subsist in my mind.
You will leave my soul
but not completely.

My poems will be
in your hands one day.
You will find yourself in them.
Time will have erased
their reason, their meaning.
But you, like me,
will suffer the nostalgia
of the old joyful days.

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