It Couldn’t Be Done

By Edgar Albert Guest 1881–1959
Somebody said that it couldn’t be done
      But he with a chuckle replied
That “maybe it couldn’t,” but he would be one
      Who wouldn’t say so till he’d tried.
So he buckled right in with the trace of a grin
      On his face. If he worried he hid it.
He started to sing as he tackled the thing
      That couldn’t be done, and he did it!

Somebody scoffed: “Oh, you’ll never do that;
      At least no one ever has done it;”
But he took off his coat and he took off his hat
      And the first thing we knew he’d begun it.
With a lift of his chin and a bit of a grin,
      Without any doubting or quiddit,
He started to sing as he tackled the thing
      That couldn’t be done, and he did it.

There are thousands to tell you it cannot be done,
      There are thousands to prophesy failure,
There are thousands to point out to you one by one,
      The dangers that wait to assail you.
But just buckle in with a bit of a grin,
      Just take off your coat and go to it;
Just start in to sing as you tackle the thing
      That “cannot be done,” and you’ll do it.

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Poet Edgar Albert Guest 1881–1959

Subjects Living, Disappointment & Failure

Occasions Farewells & Good Luck, Get Well & Recovery, Graduation

Poetic Terms Common Measure, Rhymed Stanza

 Edgar Albert Guest

Biography

Edgar Guest began his career at the Detroit Free Press in 1895, where he first worked as a copyboy. He was soon promoted to police writer and later to exchange editor, and in 1904 he began writing verse for the Free Press under the heading "Chaff." Those columns evolved into an immensely popular daily feature entitled "Breakfast Table Chat," which, at the height of its popularity, was syndicated in about three hundred other . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Disappointment & Failure

Poetic Terms Common Measure, Rhymed Stanza

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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