Why is our century worse than any other?
Is it that in the stupor of fear and grief
It has plunged its fingers 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.
– by Анна Ахматова (Anna Akhmatova) (1919)
– from Подорожник (Plantain/Wayside Grass, 1921) translation by D. M. Thomas