It Couldn’t Be Done—By Edgar A. Guest


Edward A. 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.

— Edgar A. Guest

Poet Profile

Edgar Albert Guest was born in Birmingham, England in 1881.

In 1891, Guest came with his family to the United States from England. As a young man he started to work for the Detroit Free Press, first as a copy boy and then as a reporter. His first poem appeared in the paper in 1898. Guest’s popularity increased through the years and he was soon dubbed as the “People’s Poet.” Guest wrote 11,000 poems which were syndicated in over 300 U.S. newspapers. He has twenty books to his credit, including A Heap o’ Livin’and Just Folks. He was made poet laureate of Michigan, the only poet to have been awarded the title.

His popularity led to a weekly Detroit radio show which he hosted from 1931 until 1942, followed by a 1951 NBC television series, A Guest in Your Home. Guest died in 1959.

The Americanist presents American values and history as they were once taught and celebrated in America’s homes and schools – as a national tradition worthy of remembering, embracing, and building upon. The Americanist, gathered from a variety of sources, is a project of Steve Farrell, Founder and Editor of The Moral Liberal. The collector’s hope is that such forgotten history, teachings, poetry, and music will once again find a place in every American’s heart, mind, and soul.