Tuesday, September 3, 2013


(excerpt from It Can Be Done: Poems for Hardship, Sacrifice, and Dominion)

A great, achieving soul will not clog itself with a cowardly thought or a cowardly watchword.  Cardinal Richelieu in Bulwer Lytton's play declares: "In the lexicon of youth, which fate reserves for a bright manhood, there is no such word as 'fail.' " "Impossible," Napoleon is quoted as saying, "is a word found only in the dictionary of fools."

Can't is the worst word that's written or spoken;
Doing more harm here than slander and lies;
On it is many a strong spirit broken,
And with it many a good purpose dies.
It springs from the lips of the thoughtless each morning
And robs us of courage we need through the day:
It rings in our ears like a timely-sent warning
And laughs when we falter and fall by the way.

Can't is the father of feeble endeavor,

The parent of terror and half-hearted work;
It weakens the efforts of artisans clever,
And makes of the toiler an indolent shirk.
It poisons the soul of the man with a vision,
It stifles in infancy many a plan;
It greets honest toiling with open derision
And mocks at the hopes and the dreams of a man.

Can't is a word none should speak without blushing;

To utter is should be a symbol of shame;
Ambition and courage it daily is crushing;
It blights a man's purpose and shortens his aim.
Despise it with all of your hatred of error;
Refuse it the lodgment it seeks in your brain;
Arm against it as a creature of terror,
And all that you dream of you some day shall gain.

Can't is the word that is foe to ambition,

An enemy ambushed to shatter Your will;
Its prey is forever the man with a lesson.
And bows but to courage and patience and skill.
Hate it, with hatred that's deep and undying,
For once it is welcomed 'twill break any man;
Whatever the goal you are seeking, keep trying 
And answer this demon by saying: "I can."

Edgar A. Guest

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