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, December 22, 2011

Juanma at Christmas (Juanma en Navidad)

Some like to believe that Christmas is the ideal time to forgive and forget. I don’t believe my Dad was ever able to do either when these two actions had to do with my nephew Juan Manuel (Juanma). A tragic accident, a few minutes without adult supervision and a lifetime of regret. Dad was never able to forget, not for one day, the image of his youngest grandson playing football in the garage and then fighting for life in the emergency room after he had drowned. Dad could not forgive the family friend who was in charge of supervising the kids while they enjoyed a Sunday afternoon in their swimming pool. I remember him not saying what he felt for her, not with his words, but with the anger in his eyes and the frustration of a powerless grandfather.

Today, two days before Christmas, I dedicate this poem to anyone who has ever been hurt, asking for forgiveness to their offender.

From my Dad’s book The celebrated afternoon (La tarde festejada).

Juanma at Christmas (Juanma en Navidad)

You now live in us
in a forever that does not diminish.

On the roads of the ordinary life,
in the imagination, in reality,
in our memories and in utopia,
in sadness and in any joy
that escaped the stubborn sorrow,
in the melancholy
that invaded our existences,
in your old toys, in your books,
in the blots of your calligraphy
and in the circles
that your little right hand filled with colours,
in the large notebooks
that began to pierce your innocence,
in your empty shoes, in your deep voice,
in your warm laugh, in the speed
that you used to reach on your tricycle
today useless, in your eyes
filled with angelical mischief,
in the hustle and bustle of your classmates
and the sparklers, in the light, in the shade,
in the river of inedited tears,
that lives in us since.

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