by Edgar Guest
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 o 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 it should be a symbol of shame.
Ambition and courage it daily is crushing;
it blights a man’s purpose and shorten 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 someday 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 mission
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.”
From his book, Along Life’s Highway
© 1933 by the Reilly and Lee Company