The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review

Poem for Tuesday and High School Graduation

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 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 it 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 "couldn't be done," and you'll do it.


I spent Monday watching Daniel graduate from high school and celebrating with him and our family. The ceremony was at DAR Constitution Hall, which is a pain in many ways -- previously, son's school used the Comcast Center since his is the largest high school in the county, but the school board refused to pay for it this year, so each student could only get a few tickets for family members (we had to get on a wait list for tickets for my parents and couldn't get them for my in-laws). The crowd flow is horrendous, parking is a nightmare, it's several blocks from the Metro -- and part of the Red Line was closed this morning because of a bomb threat, anyway. But the ceremony itself was very nice, attended by the president of the Board of Education (whose daughter was graduating in the class) and superintendent; the faculty read the names of all 700-some graduates, the outgoing principal made a nice speech, and other than a too-long keynote address by a Harvard professor of education and an extremely loud family sitting behind us, it was more enjoyable than I was expecting, having graduated in the same building with too many narrow corridors and too few exits.

My newly graduated son outside DAR Constitution Hall. (He is wearing a friend's cap, having tossed his at the end of the ceremony inside.)

The ceremony began with the senior orchestra playing a medley of John Williams pieces...

...followed by the students processing in to "Pomp and Circumstance."

Then the speeches began.

It pleases me that all four senior class officers were women. The class president is going to Princeton.

The principal is at the podium; the superintendent and president of the school board are to his right.

Here is Daniel getting his diploma -- actually just the diploma case, the diplomas were given out after the ceremony outside the auditorium.

And the caps go up!

This is the family dinner photo.

We were all pretty hungry by the time we retrieved my parents' car and drove out of the city, so we decided to stop at the mall for lunch so everyone could get what they wanted (I had Indian, the graduate had a cheesesteak, my mother had yogurt). Then we went home to relax for a while before picking up my parents and going to dinner at the Melting Pot with Paul's parents, who met us there. We shared four kinds of cheese fondue and four pots of chocolate around our main courses; I didn't even get salad and I ate way too much. It's two years to the day since Adam's Bar Mitzvah, also held at the Melting Pot, so it was a delightful reminder of that last family milestone. I know I am supposed to have some sort of profound feeling about my son being a high school graduate, but other than feeling a bit stupefied that the years have passed so quickly, I am experiencing no major emotional upheaval, just pride that he has a magnet program diploma. When he moves into his dorm for college, then I may feel differently! We all just watched the Inception episode of Sanctuary together, and I still feel like I am going to pop from dinner. Tomorrow Daniel has an appointment to see about getting his wisdom teeth out, so it's back to the grind!

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