Wednesday, November 21, 2007


Civilization, Anyone?

It's the day before Thanksgiving, and I'm writing my mental thank you notes and contemplating our heritage.

What dear, misguided people we must be in order to believe that we need to straighten out the rest of the world and fall into spasms of xenophobia about the sort of people who cross our borders.

My friend Susan reminded me of this Cavafy poem:

Waiting for the Barbarians

What are we waiting for, assembled in the forum?

The barbarians are to arrive today.

Why such inaction in the Senate?
Why do the Senators sit and pass no laws?

Because the barbarians are to arrive today.
What laws can the Senators pass any more?
When the barbarians come they will make the laws.

Why did our emperor wake up so early,
and sits at the greatest gate of the city,
on the throne, solemn, wearing the crown?

Because the barbarians are to arrive today.
And the emperor waits to receive
their chief. Indeed he has prepared
to give him a scroll. Therein he inscribed
many titles and names of honor.

Why have our two consuls and the praetors come out
today in their red, embroidered togas;
why do they wear amethyst-studded bracelets,
and rings with brilliant, glittering emeralds;
why are they carrying costly canes today,
wonderfully carved with silver and gold?

Because the barbarians are to arrive today,
and such things dazzle the barbarians.

Why don't the worthy orators come as always
to make their speeches, to have their say?

Because the barbarians are to arrive today;
and they get bored with eloquence and orations.

Why all of a sudden this unrest
and confusion. (How solemn the faces have become).
Why are the streets and squares clearing quickly,
and all return to their homes, so deep in thought?

Because night is here but the barbarians have not come.
And some people arrived from the borders,
and said that there are no longer any barbarians.

And now what shall become of us without any barbarians?
Those people were some kind of solution.

Constantine P. Cavafy (1904)

They have arrived!
hey , lulu - happy T. day to you and yours. This blog makes me smarter , i swear it does, make me more literate - and happy cause of it. Hell my reading list has grown in leaps and if i could only read blogs less(never) and more books. I got a stack of em , i swear. One appropo to the day (well anyday really) is the Howard Zinn classic - A Peoples History of the United States.

fondly - prog
Happy T-day and T-tomorrow.
I had fun hope you did too,


How's the folliage up there?

I noticed it was warmer in Manhattan than S. Texas yesterday. Hope you guys like it.

Pass the cranberry sauce,

Hey LD--

Leaves are off the trees, and we've had our first snow. The local duckies are huddled in the bullrushes, just like Moses.

What was in New York seems to have stayed in New York.
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