September 22, 1985 [Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters]

I fished out of the drawer some haiku that Pete had brought home from school last month or so--a poetic form that children love: as small as they are, and floating like they do toward the hope of completion. But haiku promises that things don't finish, they suspend, taking some shape for a moment. Is there a poet alive who has not tried to pick up something important with this tiny beak that dips below the surface, and hoped to bring up something essential?

--more than one thing: The essential juxtapostion of haiku, a moment of clarity as the one thing meets another. Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters feels like this. Mishima's intensely internal life cleaves like a desperate lover to his body, compelling him to sculpt himself on the outside as thoroughly as he has labored on his art. And it drives him to colors so bright and violent--like the ones Paul Schrader uses to illustrate Mishima's stories--that they pass into nothing, like a bird flying over a pond, dashing down to feed and disappearing.


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