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).

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Potter of mothelands: Song to The Liberator – Part 3 (Alfarero de patrias: Canto al Libertador – Parte 3)

Part 3

Simón José Antonio de la Santísima Trinidad Bolívar y Palacios Ponte y Blanco, commonly known as Simón Bolívar (July 24, 1783, Caracas, Venezuela – December 17, 1830, Santa Marta, Colombia) was a Venezuelan military and political leader. Together with José de San Martín, he played a key role in Hispanic-Spanish America's successful struggle for independence from the Spanish Empire, and is today considered one of the most influential politicians in Latin American history.

Following the triumph over the Spanish Monarchy, Bolívar participated in the foundation of the first union of independent nations in Hispanic-America, a republic, which was named Gran Colombia, and of which he was president from 1819 to 1830. Bolívar remains regarded in Hispanic-America as a hero, visionary, revolutionary, and liberator. During his lifetime, he led Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru, Panama, and Bolivia to independence, and helped lay the foundations for democratic ideology in much of Latin America.

Reaching out to Colombians out there to help me celebrate my father’s Song to the Liberator. A great admirer of Simón Bolívar, Dad wrote Motherland potter in 1989 and published it as a booklet, sponsored by the Institute of Culture of Norte de Santander and the Municipal Centre of Cúcuta. I have divided the long poem in four parts for the reader to digest and enjoy slowly…and also to keep the suspense.

Potter of mothelands: Song to The Liberator – Part 3 (Alfarero de patrias: Canto al Libertador – Parte 3)

The sea persists, the agony persists,
there is a breeze of melancholy
that rocks the palm trees…

And memories
crowd round the hammock.

He came from the victorious roar
of the battles
and from the glorious germinations of freedom
in the culmination of the epopee.
His voice of command: You, save the motherland!
came out of the depths of a heart
in which the faith of the man under his flags burnt.

He came from walking
roads and horizons
under scorching suns
and the reckless cold.

He came from his memories.
From the lands that he used to remember in his deliriums
and from the chest of Hipólita
whose image was in his memory
persistent at the time of the light
and in the dismal hours of darkness.

He came from the apotheosis
under triumphant arches,
under rains of flowers and garlands
and laurels and female favours
that awoke the sublime mystery
of the conspiring love
that slept inside the immortal soldier.

He came revived from Pativilca:
from Jamaica, saved by the arms
of a unedited love;
from a cursed night in which history
should have not existed…

He came from the power
that won the battles
and gave him his town;
and he came from the highest summits of the land
that he walked millimetre by millimetre,
and he came from the people
who learnt his name
under the sun
and in the starry night
of the America.

He came from the rage
of the enemies
nourished by his glory.
But he also came from love,
captive liberator
who did not know how to break the chains,
he, who broke an empire.

He came from writing without knowing
the first word on the empty blackboard
in the infancy of the motherland.

And he did not “cultivate in the sea
nor he built in the wind”.

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