The Age Demanded

By Ernest M. Hemingway 1899–1961
The age demanded that we sing
And cut away our tongue.

The age demanded that we flow
And hammered in the bung.

The age demanded that we dance
And jammed us into iron pants.

And in the end the age was handed
The sort of shit that it demanded.

Discover this poem’s context and related poetry, articles, and media.

Poet Ernest M. Hemingway 1899–1961

SCHOOL / PERIOD Modern

Subjects History & Politics, Social Commentaries

Poetic Terms Couplet

 Ernest M. Hemingway

Biography

"The writer's job is to tell the truth," Ernest Hemingway once said. When he was having difficulty writing he reminded himself of this, as he explained in his memoirs, A Moveable Feast. "I would stand and look out over the roofs of Paris and think, 'Do not worry. You have always written before and you will write now. All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.' So finally I would write . . .

Continue reading this biography

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT History & Politics, Social Commentaries

SCHOOL / PERIOD Modern

Poetic Terms Couplet

Report a problem with this poem

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

This poem has learning resources.

This poem is good for children.

This poem has related video.

This poem has related audio.