Site Feedback

Resolved questions
How would you explain “from times at once” here?


The empty city smoldered. We wore it to the bone with our modern instruments. Walls crumbled. Blocks composed of halves of shelled buildings allowed warm breezes to sweep up trash and dust and send them swirling in little cyclones as we walked. We took breaks for water, smoked where we pleased, reclined in chairs behind unoccupied desks. Empty shops with wood-fronted booths still stocked with wares from times at once ancient and obscure filled the bazaars. We placed our feet on the desks, as the soles of our boots could not offend the dead.

How would you explain “from times at once” in the second to last sentence?

For learning: English
Base language: English
Category: Language



    Please enter between 2 and 2000 characters.



    Sort by:

    Best Answer - Chosen by the Asker
    "At once" just means "both" in this specific context. "From times at once ancient and obscure" means "from times both ancient and obscure." It is just way to emphasize "and."

    "times ancient" means ancient times, long ago.
    "wares from times ancient" means things from long ago, from former times.
    My guess, "at once" here means similar to suddenly.
    It is as though things that existed, here, suddenly became things from a previous age.

    Submit your answer

    Please enter between 2 and 2000 characters.

    If you copy this answer from another italki answer page, please state the URL of where you got your answer from.