Short Goodbyes

 

The Short goodbye (by Steve Almond, in “This won’t take but a minute, honey”)

“…This was the summer of my eighth year, spent a cabin with my grandparents, both of whom I loved more than I would allow. My grandpa and her raspy laugh, her green crochet needless knit together under the lamp, like tiny axes whet and whet. My grandpa leaning over the checkerboard with his beautiful crooked teeth. They were burdened people contented by simple pleasures. I should have kissed each of them more than I did. We waste so much of our hearts. Only the dying keep a full account. In their moment of passing, the exact amount is revealed on our tongues, which turn black with regret.”

The Short goodbye (by myself, using Steve Almond’s words; this took more than twenty years…)

This was the last summer I spent with my grandmother, “whom I loved more than I would allow”. “Her raspy laugh, her green crochet needless knit together under the lamp, like tiny axes whet and whet”. My grandpa had passed away a long time ago. “They were burdened people contented by simple pleasures. I should have kissed each of them more than I did. We waste so much of our hearts. Only the dying keep a full account. In their moment of passing, the exact amount is revealed on our tongues, which turn black with regret”.

ps/ I do not read modern literature often. But I saw this book with short stories in one direction (that, yes take less than a minute to read…) and short essays on writing (that you find by flipping the book over), and thought “this ought to be interesting…”.

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Refusal

Che fece …. il gran rifiuto

To certain people there comes a day

when they must say the great Yes or the great No.

He who has the Yes ready within him

immediately reveals himself, and saying it he follows

his honor and his own conviction.

He who refuses does not repent. Should he be asked again,

he would say no again. And yet that no — the right no —

crushes him for the rest of his life.

by Constantine P. Cavafy (1901)

Traslation: http://users.hol.gr/~barbanis/cavafy/rifiuto.html

 

 

 

 

Original poem in Greek:

Che fece …. il gran rifiuto

Σε μερικούς ανθρώπους έρχεται μια μέρα

που πρέπει το μεγάλο Ναι ή το μεγάλο το Οχι

να πούνε. Φανερώνεται αμέσως όποιος τόχει

έτοιμο μέσα του το Ναι, και λέγοντάς το πέρα

πηγαίνει στην τιμή και στην πεποίθησί του.

Ο αρνηθείς δεν μετανοιώνει. Αν ρωτιούνταν πάλι,

όχι θα ξαναέλεγε. Κι όμως τον καταβάλλει

εκείνο το όχι — το σωστό — εις όλην την ζωή του.

Κωνσταντίνος Π. Καβάφης (1901)

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