Living and Giving

The Pamela Positive: “Can’t” – Edgar Guest

Share This Post



Dear Living and Giving Readers,


\”Can\’t\” is a favorite word of some people. They don\’t believe they can do something, or you can do something.






Yet you are not a CAN\’T!    You are an I CAN.






I CAN improve on my job.


I CAN move to a new city and make it!


I CAN find a new way of living. I am leaving my old, unethical ways.


I CAN appreciate my mom with my tone in every word I share. Don\’t accept a misstep here, especially with the ones you love!


I CAN have a positive attitude even when it\’s raining.


I CAN have a positive attitude even when it\’s 101 degrees!






I CAN, I CAN, I CAN. Life is so important. Have an I CAN attitude everywhere, and in everything you do!






Here is the case against it I CAN\’T.  It\’s a fount of discouragement and avoid, avoid it all costs.  Read on to read its damages, and then to defend against it.



“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 lodgment 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 .\”

                                                                     -Edgar Guest



Have an I CAN attitude and UPLIFT your life.  You will live with fullness, love and joy.


I CAN Today,






Edgar Guest was born in Birmingham, on August 20, 1881, England, to Edwin and Julia Wayne Guest. The family settled in Detroit, Michigan, in 1891. When Edwin lost his job in 1893, eleven-year-old Edgar between working odd jobs after school. In 1895 he was hired as a copy boy for the Detroit Free Press, where he would work for almost sixty-five years. His father died when the poet was seventeen, and Guest was forced to drop out of high school and work full time at the newspaper. He worked his way up from a copy boy to a job in the news department. His first poem appeared on December 11, 1898. His weekly column, \”Chaff,\” first appeared in 1904; his topical verses eventually became the daily \”Breakfast Table Chat,\” which was syndicated to over three-hundred newspapers throughout the United States.

Guest married Nellie Crossman in 1906. The couple had three children. His brother Harry printed his first two books, Home Rhymes and Just Glad Things, in small editions. His verse quickly found an audience and the Chicago firm of Reilly and Britton began to publish his books at a rate of nearly one per year. His collections include Just Folks (1917), Over Here (1918), When Day Is Done (1921), The Passing Throng (1923), Harbor Lights of Home (1928), and Today and Tomorrow (1942).



Fig. ¹: Photo by Christian Erfurt on Unsplash
Fig. ²: Photo by Mohammed Hijas on Unsplash
Fig. ³: Photo by bruce mars on Unsplash 
Fig.⁴: Photo by Blake Cheek on Unsplash