Posted: March 21, 2014 in Uncategorized

Tube no BS heading

Last week l.l. frederick ( reminded Tubularsock on a comment she made on Tubularsock’s post “THE RUSSIAN TAKE-OVER” about the Cavafy poem, Waiting For The Barbarians” .

I hadn’t read that poem in years so I traced it down and Tubularsock felt that you may wish to ponder this poem a bit. It is not that you don’t already know the external/internal enemy concept but Tubularsock feels it is so wonderfully presented in Cavafy’s poem.

Waiting for the Barbarians

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

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?  

     head in holeThey were, those people, a kind of solution.


This is something you’d probably wouldn’t do on your own but Tubularsock suggests that you print it out and read it aloud three or four times (or even more) until you get the timing down for yourself.

Sure, you can do this so no one else can see or hear you ……. but do it for the fun of it.

Tubularsock found for himself a much more powerful feeling from this poem than just reading it silently off the computer. Really, try it.

Just Say'en

Tubularsock likes to pace the room while reading and change tonality until it is more like an oratory for myself. And the power of this work comes forth.

As long as we as a people can be maneuvered by the power structure that there is an ENEMY out there that we need to be protected from, then we’ll continue these constant wars. This works well in the divide and conquer technique and those in power (even though a small number) keeps the masses in chains of fear.

Now Tubularsock knows that YOU know this but so often we are in overwhelm that we forget it. DON’T! It will keep you from thinking that you’re the crazy one!

Peace ………..

Screen Shot 2012-07-21 at 11.55.56 PM

  1. Reciting poetry … there’s a lost art, and a forgotten passtime. My grandmother could still do sizable stretches of Longfellow and Wordsworth when she was 90. But if I can’t sing it, I generally can’t remember a poem that well. So I may not try ‘Barbarians’. Never in public, anyway.

    Although, I can do a fair job with Shel Silverstein’s ‘Sara Cynthia Sylvia Stout’. And come to think of it, that does cover a rather similar situation — with people not recognizing or dealing with a problem soon enough. Cautionary tales, just like the old murder ballads. I DO know lots of those, if that helps. Happy declaiming! – Linda


    • tubularsock says:

      Linda: When I walk the streets of the U.S. I now wonder just how much of the liter I step around is Sara Cynthia Sylvia Stout’s doing!
      Thanks for your comment and the Silverstein poem.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s