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On A Critical Time

By Masaki Mori


Our current, perpetual nemesis

Wields invisibility and silence

To take the disposable body

And shrivel the mind dry

Depriving our voice of the last breath

In isolation, unheard, uncared for,

No utterance signals viral dominance


Stretch our being, in and out,

Stir the air with our expression

As a sign of life for co-motion

Modest, yet resilient to withstand

The infinitesimally insidious

This is our call to arms from lonely cells

A trial now to mold our future selves



Akira Kurosawa was thirteen years old when he survived the Great Kanto Earthquake that struck Tokyo and killed more than one hundred thousand people on November 1, 1923.  The following day, his elder brother took him out around the destroyed city so that they could observe not just collapsed, charred buildings but also disfigured human casualties in many forms, some in large groups.  It is not that they had no fear.  Rather, they chose not to turn their eyes from the reality.  Kurosawa later reminisced on the experience.  It probably became a foundation of a strenuous humanistic drive and a negativism that underlies it, both manifest in the films he created.

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