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It Couldn't Be Done

It Couldn't Be Done, Life, and Don't Quit are three of Edgar Albert Guest's most inspiring and motivating poems.

The third one Don't Quit was one that I have enjoyed for years not knowing it was by Guest. It is printed on many cards and plaques as encouragement to those who are ready to give up.

Edgar Albert Guest, known as the People's Poet, was a prolific American poet born in Birmingham, England in 1881. He came to the United States with his family when he was 10 years old and went on to become a naturalized citizen in 1902.

edgar guestGuest's career began at the Detroit Free Press, first as a copy boy, and then a reporter. At heart he was always a newspaperman, yet during his life he wrote over 11,000 poems, 300 of which were published in different newspapers. For over 30 years, not a day went by that the Free Press was printed without a Guest verse on its pages. He was the only person to be made Poet Laureate of Michigan.

One of the things that made Guest so popular and enjoyable to read was that he wrote with such simplicity yet was able to transform what was ordinary into eloquent, optimistic and uplifting language.

His own formula to success was: "I take simple everyday things that happen to me and I figure it happens to a lot of other people and I make simple rhymes out of them."

It Couldn't Be Done

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 to sing as you tackle the thing
That "cannot be done," and you'll do it.

Life

Life is a gift to be used every day,
Not to be smothered and hidden away;
It isn't a thing to be stored in the chest
Where you gather your keepsakes and treasure your best;
It isn't a joy to be sipped now and then
And promptly put back in a dark place again.

Life is a gift that the humblest may boast of
And one that the humblest may well make the most of.
Get out and live it each hour of the day,
Wear it and use it as much as you may;
Don't keep it in niches and corners and grooves,
You'll find that in service its beauty improves.

Don't Quit

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
when the road you're trudging seems all uphill,
when the funds are low and the debts are high,
and you want to smile but you have to sigh,
when care is pressing you down a bit - rest if you must, but don't you quit.

Life is queer with its twists and turns.
As everyone of us sometimes learns.
And many a fellow turns about when he might have won had he stuck it out.
Don't give up though the pace seems slow - you may succeed with another blow.
Often the goal is nearer than it seems to a faint and faltering man;

Often the struggler has given up when he might have captured the victor's cup;
and he learned too late when the night came down,
how close he was to the golden crown.

Success is failure turned inside out - the silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
and when you never can tell how close you are,
it may be near when it seems afar;
so stick to the fight when you're hardest hit - it's when things seem worst, you must not quit.


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