We don’t know how to say goodbye,
We wander on, shoulder to shoulder
Already the sun is going down
You’re moody, and I am your shadow.
Let’s step inside a church, hear prayers, masses for the dead
Why are we so different from the rest?
Outside in the graveyard we sit on a frozen branch.
That stick in your hand is tracing
Mansions in the snow in which we will always be together.
— Anna Akhmatova, from “We Don’t Know How to Say Goodbye,” in The Complete Poems of Anna Akhmatova (Zephyr Press, 2000)
The absence of an enthusiastic yes, is a no.
The absence of an informed yes, is a no.
The absence of a sober yes, is a no.
The absence of a response, is a no.
The existence of coercion, is a not a yes.
The existence of manipulation, is a not a yes.
The existence of guilt, is a not a yes.
A no is always a no. A yes is only a yes if it stands up by itself, without force or persuasion of any kind.