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).

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Memory of Mauricio Cobaydrá Bobarishora - Part 2 (Memoria de Mauricio Cobaydrá Bobarishora - Parte 2)

Part 2
The Motilón or Bari are names of a Native American ethnic group, part of the Chibcha family, remnants of the Tairona Culture. They concentrated in north-eastern Colombia and western Venezuela in the Catatumbo River basin, in the Colombian Department of Northern Santander and in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. They have been the subject of the French ethnologist Robert Jaulin's, who redefined the concept of ethnocide by observing their particular fate.

A history lesson about the leader of the Motilón tribe, original inhabitants of Cúcuta. In three parts, from my Dad’s book Boundaries (Confines).

Memory of Mauricio Cobaydrá Bobarishora - Part 2 (Memoria de Mauricio Cobaydrá Bobarishora - Parte 2)

Before it was only Cobaydrá
in the humble hut and on the hammock
that belonged to his mother Abucbacdara.

Rapacious, he inherited vanities
from Abrincadura, his father.
The tired head already
bursting with futures.

He used the bow and arrow
with mastery beyond his years.
There was a strange ability
in the arm and the sharp eye,
as if they had been made
for this exercise
with messianic fate.

The rivers and the jungle as witnesses,
he was the most skilful fisherman
and the best hunter in the tribe.
He knew the art of sensing the prey,
hunting it and cooking it:
in the stove,
he was heir
of the maternal hands.

His name was still Cobaydrá
but his child eyes
soon would see many things
that required a whole man
and he would need to have a different name.

In the hut, under the large
rustic ceiling
his hammock of a child in transition to be a man
swang hopes.

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