• 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 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.

Author: Edgar Albert Guest (1881-1959)

Helpful Books/Links/References: I first heard this in a sermon but when I googled the resource up came literally hundreds of places that Edgar Albert Guest’s poem has been used. Here are a few:

  • Better English for Speaking and Writing: A Series of Three Books: Vol. 2 (Page 224) by Sarah Emma Simons, Clem Irwin Orr, Mary Ella Given © 1920
  • Practical education: A Home library of Fourteen Books in One (Page 478) by Perry Greenlye Holden, Edmund John McFadden, Orville T Bright © 1917
  • I Can Be Done (Page 19) by Scott T. Brown
  • Life Manual for 21st Century Women (Page 181) by Svetla Bankova © 2006
  • Parenting and Partnering with Purpose Linking Homes, Schools and Churches to Educate Our Children (Page 81) by Natalie A Francisco © 2010
  • Born to Win: A Winner’s Destiny by Tommy Franks © 2009
  • Best Remembered Poems (Page 41) by Martin Gardner © 1992
  • A Time to Laugh: The Religion of Humor (Page 159) by Donald Capps © 2006