Monday, January 25, 2021

Why Is This Age Worse by Anna Akhmatova (Two translations)

Why Is This Age Worse

Why is this age worse than earlier ages?
In a stupor of grief and dread
have we not fingered the foulest wounds
and left them unhealed by our hands?
In the west the falling light still glows,
and the clustered housetops glitter in the sun,
but here Death is already chalking the doors with crosses,
and calling the ravens, and the ravens are flying in.
(Translated by Stanley Kunitz and Max Hayward)

Why Is Our Century Worse than Any Other?
Why is out century worse than any other?
Is it that in the stupor of fear and grief
It has plunged its finger in the blackest ulcer,
Yet cannot bring relief?
Westward the sun is dropping,
And the roofs of towns are shining in its light.
Already death is chalking doors with crosses
And calling the ravens and the ravens are in flight.
(Translated by D. M. Thomas)

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