You Never Die Alone

© Yasuhiro Ishimoto

Looking through the obituaries on the New York Times digital edition while searching for any mention of Yasuhiro Ishimoto (none at all)  I came across a whole slew of people who have passed away that have in some small way touched upon my life. You never die alone, but you do die by yourself. The great boxing trainer and corner man Angelo Dundee passed away on Wednesday February 1. Mr. Dundee was in the corner of many great fighters. My head is filled with memories of staying up late at night as a child to watch the greats of boxing fight on television in the 1970’s and 1980’s; Ali, Leonard, Duran, Frazier, and it seemed like Dundee was always there in someone’s corner spurring the gladiator on to greater heights.

The Nobel Prize winning poet Wislawa Szymborska also died on Wednesday, February 1. Both of these great souls passed away exactly one week prior to Ishimoto-san. Ms. Szymborska created one of my favorite poems:

Clouds 

I’d have to be really quick 
to describe clouds – 
a split second’s enough 
for them to start being something else. 

Their trademark: 
they don’t repeat a single 
shape, shade, pose, arrangement. 

Unburdened by memory of any kind, 
they float easily over the facts. 

What on earth could they bear witness to? 
They scatter whenever something happens. 

Compared to clouds, 
life rests on solid ground, 
practically permanent, almost eternal. 

Next to clouds 
even a stone seems like a brother, 
someone you can trust, 
while they’re just distant, flighty cousins. 

Let people exist if they want, 
and then die, one after another: 
clouds simply don’t care 
what they’re up to 
down there. 

And so their haughty fleet 
cruises smoothly over your whole life 
and mine, still incomplete. 

They aren’t obliged to vanish when we’re gone. 
They don’t have to be seen while sailing on. 

Translated by Stanislaw Baranczak and Clare Cavanagh 

 

Rest In Peace.

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