Why Is This Age Worse?


This is my response poem to another poem by Anna Akhmatova. I chose to keep her first line, which is a question, and came up with my own answer.

But first, Akhmatova’s original poem:

Why Is This Age Worse…? (translation by Stanley Kunitz)

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.


Now here’s my response:

Why is this Age Worse?

Why is this age worse than earlier ages?
We’re all working each other to death,
slugging our production like a flurry of blows
into the rawhide of human connection.

In the east, the traffic of brake lights burns on,
a glowing stream into the low sun—
by the millions, we flock to the inferno.
Each burns out on the way in.

by Ryan Dowling