CHE FECE . . . IL GRAN RIFIUTO
A day comes to some people when
they must pronounce the great Yes or the great No.
It is instantly clear who has the Yes within,
ready; and by uttering it, he crosses over to
his honor and conviction. The one who
refuses has no remorse. If asked again,
he'd say no again. And yet that No —
the right No — weighs him down to his life's end.
Translated with Willis Barnstone
C. P. Cavafy
Translated by Aliki Barnstone
The Collected Poems of C. P. Cavafy
W. W. Norton & Company
Copyright © 2006 by Aliki Barnstone.
All rights reserved.