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 1, 2011

Tribute to a Raizal (Tributo a un raizal)

I could not find who Angel María Corzo was but I did discover that Gonzalo Rivera Laguado was the Governor of Norte de Santander (the state of which Cucuta is the capital city) between 1953 and 1957.
From my Dad’s book Commemorations (Conmemoraciones).

Tribute to a Raizal (Tributo a un raizal)

                                                                        In memory of Angel María Corzo.

This morning I found out
about the death of a violin. Pensive I picture
what will its fate of graceless wood will be: Mute, lifeless!

In its carrying case it used to conduct
in its nocturnal rounds
the resonant stream of domestic harmony,
the pure note of a golden arpeggio.

There will be no violin that can play “The Immortal”
nor Elías’ “The Breezes” or “Josefita”
with the same feeling and mastery.
The serenade is now infinite
in the company of friends
which it always remembered with fondness.
Its words were dreams and desires,
mix of light, memories, the misfortune
that made it love its yard.
The small things that the heart never forgets!
So much, that the echo of its cut short voice
will remain in the breeze of Cúcuta.

Angel María is dead, the noble old man
whose white head looked like
a tower of poetry and melody,
pure like the moon of a mirror.

To Gonzalo
Rivera Laguado

1 comment:

  1. Angel Maria Corzo was a renowned violinist and Composer in Cucuta (North Santander, Colombia) during the late 50's, 60's and 70's who happened to be my grandfather. He died around 1977. A park in Cucuta was built in his name.

    Josefita is one of his most famous songs http://www.cucutanuestra.com/temas/musica-regional/angel_maria_corzo/ and has been covered on CD compilations by other major artists like Jaime Martinez on "Colombia en my Violin".

    Henry Alejandro Corzo (Long Beach, CA, USA)