They Said It Couldn’t Be Done

Blog 1263 – 02.13.2017

They Said It Couldn’t Be Done

“The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person who is doing it.”


• Chinese Proverb

Last weekend I was having breakfast and saw and heard a contemporary older brother greet his breakfast companions with a rendition /recitation of The Village Blacksmith by Henry Wadworth Longfellow – “Under a spreading chestnut tree, the village smithy stands…” It so reminded me of my long departed but beloved father. Dad did not have an extensive repertoire of memorized poetry but he loved to “hold court” and entertain. I suppose I inherit that from him. I have practiced a short piece I call My Irish Poem that I love to deliver especially on St. Paddy’s Day. I attach a link to it here for your amusement and encouragement.

My Irish Poem

Dad’s poems were not just entertaining they always had a message and a moral that dad thought worthy of sharing. Here is one of his favorites:

“It Couldn’t Be Done

by Edgar 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.

This poem is in the public domain.

Edgar Guest

Born in 1881 in England, Edgar Guest was a prolific writer whose poems were often fourteen lines long and presented a deeply sentimental view of everyday life.”

My dad taught me, reciting this poem to me many times over my young life, that I could do anything that I really want to do if I just knuckled down, stayed at it, and refused to listen to the “can’t” crowd.

Thanks, Dad. I love you and I still intend to make you proud.

Your friend and fellow traveler,

David White

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s