The passing of Misao Okawa; moving on to National Poetry Month

Enthusiasm is at the bottom of all progress. With it there is accomplishment. Without it there are only alibis – Henry Ford.

I thought I should mention that Misao Okawa, once the world’s oldest person has passed. Ms. Okawa died peacefully in a nursing facility in Higashisumiyoshi, Japan on April 1st the age of 117, just one day after I mentioned her in in my blog-post of March 31st. That particular post was geared to reminding us all (myself in particular) that no matter how many years we are allotted, that time does run out, and if there is anything in particular that one wants to accomplish, then there is no better day than the one you are in, to begin.
As I noted in that earlier post, Ms. Okawa mentioned in one of her final interviews, that life to her had “…seemed rather short”, leaving me to wonder what hope there is for the rest of us mortals if the world’s oldest resident felt that life had been short.
Upon the death of Ms. Okawa, 116 year old Gertrude Weaver of Arkansas, the daughter of a sharecropper, assumed the title of the world’s oldest person. Ms. Weaver, who would have turned 117 on the fourth of July of this year, had scant few days to enjoy the honor, as she passed on April 6, passing the super-centarian torch to 115 year old, Jeralean Talley of Michigan.

…moving on…

April is National Poetry Month. And since EEOTPB is sort of a quasi-poetry blog (although I didn’t really intend it to be so when I started out a couple of years ago), I think it is only fitting that I mention National Poetry Month in this space, and to further mention what I’m going to do to observe it (especially since April is more than half gone already…go figure that).

In honor of National Poetry Month, I have ordered a few more copies of my poetry book, titled “Outrunning the Storm”. I will be giving these copies away until they run out, so if you’d like one, drop me an email at Send me your snail-mail address and I will ship one out to you. Free of charge.

Don’t worry, you don’t have to write a review or anything. Hell, you don’t even have to read the book if you don’t want to, but honest, heartfelt, reviews are always welcome.

And don’t worry about it if you read this next month, in May – after National Poetry Month runs out (expires). I’m no stickler for details. If I still have a book, then you have a copy.

Thinking about time, Misao Okawa, Van Gogh, and Delmore Schwartz

This week I am taking a short detour off of the poetic superhighway, perhaps into the philosophical ‘weeds’, but nonetheless, here’s what’s on my mind today. A news story that I read earlier in the month at first amused me, then it nagged at me for so long that I returned to the article for a re-read. My take away on the re-read disturbed me.

The article that I am referring to is one of many that appeared on various internet newsfeeds, as well as in the print and broadcast news media. It announced the birthday of the world’s oldest living human, Misao Okawa of Japan. Ms. Okawa, who on March 5 of this year, celebrated her 117th birthday, made her numero uno of the supercentenarians, a supercentenarian being defined as a person older than 110 years of age.

In any case, it was a ‘feel good’ article, and Ms. Okawa, who appears to be mentally sharp, and in good physical condition for a person of her age, had quite a lot to say to interviewers. Most noteworthy of her comments was one regarding life in general.

“It seemed quite short,” said Ms. Okawa.

I was stunned. If the life of the world’s oldest human seemed, “quite short”, what hope is there for the rest of us. As a time junkie, I calculated that Ms. Okawa was 57 years of age when I was born – a lady well into middle age at that time. Now in her later years, her she was telling us that, in effect, it had all passed very quickly.

Get it done, make the list, and make sure you get as much in as you can, because you only have your ‘allotted’ years. That’s what I take away from Ms. Okawa’s interview. If you want to write, paint, improve yourself, or travel to the ends of the earth, there is no better day to put a plan in place than today. If you want to build a cabin in the Rockies, ride a horse, jump a freight train to Calgary, or rekindle a lost romance, do it now.

Some of us are allowed many years, others of us few. Yesterday, March 30th, marked the passing of one who was allotted few years. It was the birth date of Vincent Van Gogh. Van Gogh was allowed only 37 years on this planet before insanity drove him to kill himself in July of 1890. In his wake he left a legacy of art that will survive him by millenniums (if civilization survives that long).

So this is where I am today, midway between Van Gogh’s birthday, and the first of April. Do I have a poem in mind for this occasion…well I do, but it’s not one that I wrote. It’s one of my favorite poems, and it contains one of my favorite poetic lines:

“…time is the fire in which we burn”

This line is from a poem by Delmore Schwartz, titled “Calmly we walk through this April day”. This poem describes an April day in New York City in 1937. I hope that you enjoy it.

Oh…by the way…
Ms. Okawa was asked the secret of her longevity.
She said, “I wonder about that too.”