The New Barbarians
Envoys didn’t crowd the horizon with their ships
or trample the plains on horse back.
There was no jingling of spurs,
no wind gusting against our doors.
When they arrived, mothers
were driving their children to school
and the man across the street
was loading his golf clubs
into his car, the grocer was stocking
his shelves with cereal boxes
and the dress shop manager
was changing the display in her window.
When they arrived our ears were tuned
to our own footsteps, our thoughts
bounded by our ordinary days. Men
in well-pressed suits and carrying briefcases
slipped from their high-rise offices
and entered the wide open gates
of our city. This was no Troy
no Jericho. They spoke to us
about new dangers. They told us all
would be well now and we believed them.
They spoke a language
we thought we understood, assuring us
we would be safe now
from the barbarians far across the world.
Copyright © 2006 Marguerite Bouvard
About the poet