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)






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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