Text of the "FOURTH BOOK'' written in Japanese on the elderly scholar who escapes from the publisher's workshop.


Is this a book exhausted from too much reading?
Or too little reading?

From the hairs on the head to the

end of the toe-nails - the pages are marked with the stains of use.
Or miss-use,

Better that the words had been read

off the page.

Do the words still signify?

Is there still a space between chapters

or have all matters blurred?

In this book the index of entries
is longer than the book itself.
This life has so many footnotes
it ought to be all flatfeet,
its soul layered deep
in calloused blisters and corns.

The major sweep of this book's living
is too often marred by qualifying.
It is hedged about with ifs and buts

and if onlys

and howevers,
excuses for a life that is about to shut
its covers for the last time
and then crumple into dust
in an unseen

and never-to-be-remembered library.