Angry Doctor

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Waiting for the Barbarians

-What are we waiting for, assembled in the forum?

The barbarians are due here today.

-Why isn't anything going on in the senate?
Why are the senators sitting there without legislating?

Because the barbarians are coming today.
What's the point of senators making laws now?
Once the barbarians are here, they'll do the legislating.

-Why did our emperor get up so early,
and why is he sitting enthroned at the city's main gate,
in state, wearing the crown?

Because the barbarians are coming today
and the emperor's waiting to receive their leader.
He's even got a scroll to give him,
loaded with titles, with imposing names.

-Why have our two consuls and praetors come out today
wearing their embroidered, their scarlet togas?
Why have they put on bracelets with so many amethysts,
rings sparkling with magnificent emeralds?
Why are they carrying elegant canes
beautifully worked in silver and gold?

Because the barbarians are coming today
and things like that dazzle the barbarians.

-Why don't our distinguished orators turn up as usual
to make their speeches, say what they have to say?

Because the barbarians are coming today
and they're bored by rhetoric and public speaking.

-Why this sudden bewilderment, this confusion?
(How serious people's faces have become.)
Why are the streets and squares emptying so rapidly,
everyone going home lost in thought?

Because night has fallen and the barbarians haven't come.
And some of our men who have just returned from the border say
there are no barbarians any longer.

Now what's going to happen to us without barbarians?
Those people were a kind of solution.

Constantine P. Cavafy


  • Nice one - a perceptive and subtle choice of comment, doc. Flogs two of our contemporary birds with one stone: the bed-wetting bigotry of new AWARE and the cynical self-serving Public Order Act masquerading as a prophylaxis against invisible terrorists and savage little children.

    You are clearly a very smart chap of whom it has been said...but not very often! A crying shame you'll never make Minister for Health as we now know only trained mechanical engineers are suited to the job.

    Now if you'll excuse me, I think I hear the doorbell. Must fetch my trusty baseball bat as it could be a heathen at the gate. Can't be too careful these days.

    By Anonymous g_e, At April 30, 2009 12:59 pm  

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