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, October 4, 2011

Elegy 1: First of October 1996 (Elegía 1: Primero de Octubre de 1996)

Juan Manuel diffused in the light (continued)

About six months after Juan Manuel’s passing, my sister broke wonderful news. Her and her husband had decided to try and have a new child and she was barely five weeks pregnant.
We were all so excited, our entire family enjoyed the taste of new hope; my sister recovered her faith and believed that God had a reason to take her youngest son so early, so innocent.

Unfortunately, the joy did not last long. A few weeks later she had a miscarriage; the doctors said that it was probably because of the traumatic events that had preceded her pregnancy. Nevertheless she was adamant that she would have another child, so she picked herself up, did all she could to improve her health and armed with the strength of a courageous mother and the faith in God that has always defined her, she was expecting a child again less than a year later.

She was a month away from giving birth to a baby boy who she would name Santiago when the unthinkable happened. One morning she felt terribly ill and thought something was not quite right. She was inconsolable when she learnt that Santiago had strangled himself with the umbilical cord. She had to have an emergency caesarean and two days later her and her husband, together with my father and mother, were at the burial of her third son.

One year later, from my Dad’s book The celebrated afternoon (La tarde festejada)

Elegy 1: First of October 1996 (Elegía 1: Primero de Octubre de 1996)

Beyond the shadow,
beyond time, in a corner
of eternity, perhaps lit by
the light of God, there you are,
distant, final, like telling me
something inaudible, like listening
to words that my lips
do not pronounce anymore,
my lips that are only silence.

The days fill my sadness
with occupations
and you configure yourself
like a beautiful memory,
like a star fallen from space
that has returned to space.
Your image will remain in the dimension
that my eyes reach
and in the glory of having you
live forever in me
despite death.

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