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.
The small but perfectly formed Beeston International Poetry, http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=129081423811358&ref=ts, came alive for me this evening when Vassilis Pavlides read Cavafy's 1904 poem, Waiting for the Barbarians, partly in Cavafy's Alexandian Greek dialect, then fully in English, extracted above. Great poem, but we all knew that Billy (as Vassilis is known) was referring to the arrival of the barbarians yesterday, legislating smugly against the poor, against local government and against culture. The Beeston mini-festival restarts next Monday, with many more writers from the independent press world, including Five Leaves' irregulars Rosie Garner, CJ Allen, Gregory Woods, Mahendra Solanki and Matthew Welton, with others including Paul Binding who will become a Five Leaves' writer in 2013, barbarians notwithstanding.