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Can't

by Edgar A 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 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 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 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 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."

Edgar A. Guest