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 22, 2011

Roses for Ofelia (Rosas para Ofelia)

Ofelia Villamizar Buitrago was born on January 22, 1921 in Villa Sucre, district of Arboledas, Colombia. She belonged to the Journalists Association and the Academy of History of Norte de Santander (of which my father was also a member). Ofelia received countless awards, including one for merit as the Mayor of the municipality of Durania, the Legion of Mary (Pamplona), one from the Institute of Culture and Fine Arts of Norte de Santander and the title of Outstanding Woman of the Citizens' Union of Colombia (1981). She won first prize with her poem Torcoroma in the open competition of poetry for Colombia’s magazine Cromos and a national award in Zipaquirá (Cundinamarca) with the poem Admirabilis Mater.
She was also a finalist in the international competition Carabela de Plata in Barcelona (Spain). The Spanish-American anthology magazine published her works Sterile branch and One day the letter said. The Ministry of Education of Colombia published her book Jars of clay. She died on January 30, 1991 in Cúcuta (Colombia).

From my Dad’s book Commemorations (Conmemoraciones).

Roses for Ofelia (Rosas para Ofelia)

The heart that knows what
my thought wants and my hand writes
builds and old formula
and gives me, to exalt in Parnassian verse,
your sweet voice that my excitement
sees as victorious over oblivion and wasted time
rebelliousness or song or Miserere
or complain or prayer for the brother.

Laborious bee, your accent
goes very far poured out of old wineskins
the same in sorrows as in joy.

From my rumourer loneliness
you received red roses to keep
in the gardens of your poetry.

To Ofelia Villamizar Buitrago

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