Can’t is the Worst Word that’s Written or Spoken

Can't poem
Here’s another great poem by Edgar Guest, called:


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 halfhearted 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 shortens his aim.

Despise it with all of your hatred of error;
Refuse it the lodgement 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.”


There you have it.  Thoughts?  Comments?  Questions?

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  1. I like the message this poem sends, very well composed, creative in thought. Keeping positive in life will help you to achieve the goals that you want.

  2. Yes we can….Bob the Builder…a cartoon character,that help’s young children to learn to be positive at an early age,perhaps we can learn from our children when,we say no we can’t, and they say why not ? if the answer is, don’t know, then it’s time to try.

  3. Holy smoke what a powerful and well written poem. This one is a genuine keeper and should be elevated in the halls of study and made a centerpiece for all who seek to accomplish that which others have deemed impossible. Thanks for sharing it.

  4. I enjoy the emails I get each week. I send my own thought of the day to all my employees every morning. This “can’t” is perfect timing. I have been so discouraged with those which say can’t lately. This says it all.

  5. This is a gem of an affirmation. I agree with the above writer that we should learn from children when they ask “Why not?”, because as parents we often give them very lame, if not outright stupid answers as to why we can’t.

  6. Hello Shawn,

    This is an amazing poem I will share it with my family and friends and it should be pasted in every learning facility to give hope to all those striving to do their best, to know to never give up in lifes journey until all is fulfilled and they live all their dreams.

    Every discovery and achievement that was ever made in the history of the world was due to perseverance and dedication and belief that nothing was impossible.

    Take care always.

  7. For once it is welcomed ’twill break any man;
    What does this sentence mean? Who can tell me?