Have you heard about Toya Shibata? She is a living testament to…it is never too late. I kept a picture of Shibata on my refrigerator for a long time because she is an amazing example of a late bloomer.
Shibata was born in 1911. At the age of 92, she began to write poetry as her creative outlet because she had to give up her classical dance hobby. Shibata self-published her first anthology Kujikenaide (Don’t Lose Heart). Surprise, surprise…it was a commercial success and was picked up by a traditional publisher. Then in 2011, her second anthology Hyakusai (Don’t Be Too Frustrated) was published and also became a best seller. To date, her poetry books have sold millions of copies and she is Japan’s best selling author/poet.
On and off through the years, I’ve read books about being a late bloomer. I kept my fingers crossed that I would bloom sometime. Below is a poem I wrote (in 2010) about being a late-bloomer or possibly a non-bloomer.
I must have bloomed already
and not recognized it.
Even a late bloomer
would have bloomed by now.
Could it be that
I’m a non-bloomer?
I’ve waited all these years to bloom?
I’ll be great at wilting and withering.
It takes boldness to be great at those.
I do have boldness
I have wisdom.
The wisdom to know that wizened
is every bit as important as bloom.