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).

Monday, December 26, 2011

Poem about Jesus (Poema acerca de Jesús)

Friendship is unmeasurable. Or at least I think so. Often we label friends according to the length of time we have known them for, or because we belong to the same generation, study or work together or frequent the same places. Nevertheless, from time to time, we bump into someone or some people who welcome you into their world, with open arms, with not prejudices or secret agenda, and you feel like you’ve known them for life and you want to know them for the rest of your life. In other words, it just feels right. I had that experience this Christmas and feel blessed for the best miracle I could ever receive, true friendship.

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

Poem about Jesus (Poema acerca de Jesús)

You will be able to find him
in any corner of the world
where there is someone who suffers,
today, like yesterday and tomorrow,
in the early morning, at the edge of night,
in the sunset; you will find Him
in yourself, or far away, even beside you;
you will find him whenever you want,
He is your own voice, your now
full of defects and perspectives…
but you must feel him and see him and acknowledge
that it is Him, the One who 2000 years ago,
being the son of God took the shape of a man,
and became a man like any of us,
except for in him there was no sin.
He loved those who were sad, and wild flowers,
and the birds, he shared with the sinners,
cursed the fig tree and forgave trespasses;
reprimanded the winds
and he made furies obey him;
He knew how to hold in his arms
the tired and weighed down,
and He did not have a place to lean his head on.

Some were troubled by his words
and conspired against him,
and from the bottom of their confusion
they begged him to leave the village;
others loved him with tenderness
larger than their fear and kissed his feet
and found shelter under his tunic.

He is the same
who did prodigious things.

When he learned that a friend had died
he uttered to his inner self a profound cry;
Lazarus heard the scream
and startled resurrected.

Nobody knew who had provided
the scarce wine; He had transformed
the jars of water into carafes.

The fishing nets were full: He had shown
the path to the shoals of fish.

Amidst the storm and night
he built a path across the sea.

He drew lilies
on the skin of the leper.

He shared some bread and fish with those
who listened to him.
Thousands satisfied their hunger.

He wrote in the sand
the enigma of Oblivion. The poor woman’s soul
was burnt by a red sun. Then he was alone:
No one threw a stone.

He promised the Kingdom of Heaven
to those poor of spirit and those who cry,
mercy to the merciful,
the land as a legacy to the humble.
He left infinite wealth to feed
the hungry. He called children of God
those who believed in peace. He ensured victory
to the fugitive, the falsely accused and the wronged
and granted virtuous vision to those pure of heart.

Jesus, born in Bethlehem,
adoptive son of Joseph, of David’s lineage,
and of Mary, who conceived thanks to the Holy Spirit.
His science came from his Father,
and, Man and God,
he pastured his people
who loved him and crucified him;
but he rose from the grave on the third day
and lives today resurrected and splendid
in the hearts of men.

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