For these words alone, I was ready to pardon . . .
— from Rashomon, the movie

In 1950 a Japanese period film
portrayed the killing of a samurai
and the rape of his wife.
Four separate and different
versions of the tragedy are
vividly told by the characters
in the story: the bandit, the wife,
the samurai (as told through
a medium), and the woodcutter.

Who speaks the truth?
Who knows the truth?
Who hides the truth?
What is the truth?

A priest, with whom
the woodcutter shares
his story becomes disillusioned.
He begins to lose his faith
in humanity, seeing
each person
shaping a reality
colored by their
particular interest.
Then the woodcutter
does something magnanimous
restoring the priest’s
hope for humankind.

Howard Richard Debs is a poet, writer, photographer, sometime artist, musician, and singer-songwriter. His latest work appears in Blue Bonnet Review, China Grove, I Am Not A Silent Poet, and On Being. His photography is forthcoming in Rattle online as “Ekphrastic Challenge" artist and guest editor. Read other articles by Howard Richard, or visit Howard Richard's website.