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).

Saturday, December 31, 2011

The design (Designio)

One year ago I decided to pay tribute to my father by translating his literary work into English and sharing it on a blog with my world. What an experience! I learnt so much more about my best friend, my hero, my role model. I cried, I laughed, I struggled with words, but I did it. Thank you to those who read some of his poems, you helped me keep him alive, and hopefully he made you feel alive by awakening any kind of feeling in your heart.

This is it, the last poem of ‘mydadspoetry2011.blogspot.com’, from his book The celebrated afternoon (La tarde festejada).


The design (Designio)

You who return
from beyond the shadow,
from the outside,
from silence and solitude,
who comes from the deep abysses
where scorpions conceive
with sperm of hatred,
who inhabited the fictitious night
of the wetlands
and were tenant of the rain,
of the infected swamps,
of the deaf jungle noise,
of the mystery, of desperation
and madness,
you who walked wandering
on roads that you did not deserve
toward inexistent horizons,
you must tell us where it is
the invulnerable place of men,
the critical point,
the untouched Achilles' heel
that cannot be tarnished
by the shadows
nor silence or solitude or the abysses
or the rain or the blind sun
or the unlikely roads
or desperation or madness.

Which will be the secret lamp
that in the stubborn darkness
does not tire or extinguishes
and lights up the remote places where
the terminal points of man
and the sources of his anguish nest?
Where does the invincible energy live?
Energy that allows such fragile creature
survive under the weight of moral predicaments
and multiply its patience to wait for
the birth of light
between prejudice and darkness.
I ask you, my brother,
because I have loved life since the luminous days
and the nights radiant with stars.
I ask you because I only know
the surface of what you knew,
and I find in every drop of dew
the sign of God and in every rose that blossoms
I find the expression of hallelujah of his mercy.

Your silence anointed with tears
is yelling the answer.
My Lord, you are the foundation
where man can affirm himself
without annoyance or danger.
Nothing of what exists in Nature
can hold
the ethereal, magic and turbulent weight
that in an instant falls like a tombstone
over the scraps of our will.
In a moment of our path
we become a memory,
something that is not anymore,
something that once was
and is not now and will never be
in our confusion.

You are THE ONLY ONE that as quicksilver
take the shapes of the minimal cracks
to penetrate the most secret place
where the soul that thinks of you hides.
Or you arrive like a flash of lighting
and a spark falls off you
like a firefly dispossessed of its wings
and fires up the mysterious paths of the brain
to warm up with the heat of your mercy
the almost dead embryos
of Hope and Faith.
You arrive steadily in the middle of the night
and your pour out like the dew over the fields
without them feeling your presence.
And one morning at the first light of dawn
the imprisoned foretells that you are close.
Perhaps you took some of the gifts
that you gave us in abundance
to use them in other causes
and we did not understand your message…

Oh God of the clay
who shaped sadness
and the quiet days
and happiness
and bliss
and tenderness
and sorrow
let me understand the paths
that your infinite hands design
and help me in the hour that only you know,
the hour to ascend to the eternal reality where you live!

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