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, September 6, 2011

Books and signs (Libros y señas)

Books were much more than lifeless objects to my Dad. They were his life, his first love, his sanctuary, his inspiration. From his book The celebrated afternoon (La tarde festejada).

Books and signs (Libros y señas)

Loneliness invades, relentless,
perceptible, the adolescent library
of the children.
Some volumes have scars;
their fingers left ink prints,
marginal marks, interlined
like milestones or signs, guiding
a return without hesitation,
memories of the excitement
that occupied their nights.
The books appear to say, nostalgic,
their eyes and hands passed through me.
They seem to remember
the delicate love of their owners,
quiet, inspired,
perhaps with a pencil between the lips
biting an idea bout to arrive.

The books that heard their silences,
that were in their hands.
The books that now sleep.

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