“Consider the duty of saying No; to what we should say No;
and the difficulty and examples of saying it.”
But I did say no. I did. Or did I?
“No peace, no excellence, no safety, without being able to say No.”
When he pounded on the door, I said,
no, I’m sleeping, go away.
“Even inferior creatures have this power of saying No.”
When he said let me in, I said
it’s too late, go away.
“Saying No grows easier every time you do it.”
When he said he was thirsty, he’d been out running for miles,
when he dripped sweat and asked for a glass of water,
I said get real, let me go back to sleep, I’m not a water fountain,
go somewhere else.
“A saying No to them deliberately, honestly, and finally.”
When he said it was too late,
all the bars were closed,
I said then go home.
“But stop your ears, — refuse the thoughts and urgencies, — say No”
When he said home was too far away, I said
he should have thought of that sooner.
“This ‘saying-No’ and ‘saying-Yes’ is in his case
a veritable Paraphasia vesana, or insane language”
When he said, just a glass of water, just one glass of water, I said,
“But have we this power to say No?”
You promise? One glass of water, and you’ll leave?
“Lose no time by saying No, Let us to the green woods go.”
And then it really was too late.
“Whereas, if you say Yes, yes, you open the bulwark,
and it is like the letting in of water,
hard to stop, and always increasing.”
NOTE: Quotes mostly from:
Milne, John. “When and How to Say No.” Christian Treasury, December 1, 1868, v.24, pp.565-567.