March 1, 2021

Go On. 

   In the hopes of securing an appointment for the first shot of the Covid vaccine, my husband stayed up past midnight last night, punching computer buttons. Like an outmaneuvered boxer in a hopeless match, he punched and punched and punched. 

Finally, in the wee hours of the morning, he fell over. For naught were his efforts; there were no vaccine appointments to be had.

He woke this morning dejected. 

But he was back at it moments later. Every spare second he had, which were few, he punched again. 

And then, in the midst of a dreary afternoon, I heard the whoop. He found a window; he made our appointments. 

He persevered. 

Life will never be about avoiding stress. It will always be about managing it. 

I think about the staggeringly gifted young poet, Amanda Gorman, whose voice rang out in enunciated rhyme at the presidential inauguration. Gorman has faced down her share of challenges. Born prematurely, in kindergarten she was diagnosed with an auditory processing disorder. Her brain had difficulty making sense of the words she was hearing. Articulation issues also dogged her; she had trouble pronouncing certain letters and words. ‘R’ was always a particular challenge. 

Besides being black in America, besides being a woman in what is still a mostly man’s world, besides being the child of a single mother who teaches in the historically impoverished, high-crime Watts section of Los Angeles, Gorman mixed her innate intelligence with curiosity, and she learned, and learned, and learned.  

Challenges, obstacles, insurmountable problems. Call them what you wish. Then climb atop them. 

Gorman read books. She wrote. She sang. Because she was a stubborn child, she fought the help given. When she finally accepted it, she grew. Then, in third grade, a teacher introduced her to poetry. The rhythm, the rhyme, the cadence, the stories: she blossomed. 

Whether or not you’ve heard the “Hamilton” song, “Aaron Burr, Sir” listen to it now. Gorman has, hundreds of times. She sings it to practice her ‘R’s. In a song titled “Aaron Burr, Sir,” those ‘R’s hurl at the listener like a libidinous bull toward a cow in heat.  

We embrace irony when we recognize the small chance of a child with hearing and speech issues emerging as an internationally admired poet. I could understand if she had decided to become a doctor. A speech pathologist. A schoolteacher. But she turned to what is possibly the hardest of pursuits for her specific difficulties. She mastered her own failings.

She persevered.

 “For there is always light,” she writes, “if only we’re brave enough to see it, if only we’re brave enough to be it.”

Be the light. Persevere.

         For the purposes of this blog, think of a time when you have carried on past all good reason. Write about it. Share it with someone who will listen. If you are a participant in the Candlelight Writing Workshops, send it to me. You may not hear from me, but know I have read it. 

         Through, you can sign up to receive a poem a day in your email inbox. These are previously unpublished poems and a way for to bring contemporary poetry to the masses. If you want to read established poets, visit Among other poems, the site lists a poem of the day. 

“It Couldn’t Be Done”

By Edgar Albert Guest

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.