Can't Edgar Guest - 1916 - A Heap o' Livin' 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."