Waiting for Barbarians

Cropped from :Image:Cavafy1900.jpg

Cropped from :Image:Cavafy1900.jpg (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Repairman Jack over at RedState has a post up on comprehensive immigration reform. It’s pretty good and worth your time.


America has a significant and over-arching problem. A problem that explains the flaccid economy and the dystopic dysfunction that is Bulletmore, Murderland or Chicago, ILLinois. It’s a problem that a very smart and evil man-spider named Charles Schumer has figured out and that a very ambitious and amoral man name Marco Rubio suffers from as he seeks to acquire more power and dominance. It’s a problem that arises when a civilization spends itself out and doesn’t understand and believe that it has a purpose beyond being a giant pez-dispenser of goodies to a clamoring populace. We are a nation that no longer believes that it holds any particular special moral high ground and the immigration debate in Congress is just another attempt to either fix this problem or make it go away.


Continue read Constance Cafavy And Comprehensive Amnesty Reform | RedState.


See that was pretty good wasn’t it. But what really struck me was how apt Cavafy’s poem is to our general malaise in this country. If you remember Jess’s co-author introduced him to us late last summer, so maybe we should review.


Waiting for the Barbarians
What are we waiting for, assembled in the forum?

The barbarians are due here today.

Why isn’t anything happening in the senate?
Why do the senators sit there without legislating?

Because the barbarians are coming today.
What laws can the senators make now?
Once the barbarians are here, they’ll do the legislating.

Why did our emperor get up so early,
and why is he sitting at the city’s main gate
on his throne, in state, wearing the crown?

Because the barbarians are coming today
and the emperor is waiting to receive their leader.
He has even prepared a scroll to give him,
replete 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,
and 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 come forward 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 restlessness, this confusion?
(How serious people’s faces have become.)
Why are the streets and squares emptying so rapidly,
everyone going home so lost in thought?

Because night has fallen and the barbarians have not come.
And some who have just returned from the border say
there are no barbarians any longer.
And now, what’s going to happen to us without barbarians?
They were, those people, a kind of solution.

By Constantine Cavafy (1864-1933), translated by Edmund Keeley


Seems to fit quite a lot of our problems, doesn’t it


Shall we continue waiting, or start solving our own problems?




About NEO
Lineman, Electrician, Industrial Control technician, Staking Engineer, Inspector, Quality Assurance Manager, Chief Operations Officer

4 Responses to Waiting for Barbarians

  1. JessicaHof says:

    Yes, that about sums it up. 🙂


    • NEO says:

      It rather does, doesn’t it? 🙂


      • JessicaHof says:

        Very apt 🙂 xx


        • NEO says:

          I thought so, and was surprised to see anybody else in this country had ever heard of Cavafy. I note that Google spell check hasn’t 🙂 xx


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