The Chemistry Hour


The Chemistry Hour


Gerard Bullett


Now let me praise, not famous men,

But men who, for little reward,

Scattered the floor of my dusty pen

With crumbs of truth from a cherished hoard,

And in particular him who came,

On Tuesday and Friday, praise the Lord,

Hoping to set our hearts aflame

With natural science, combustible stuff.


Snobs every one of us, lost to shame,

We saw he was shabby and thought him rough.

He wore a beard instead of a tie.

His proud experiments never came off.

And when we applauded, wild with joy,

The splintering glass, the loud explosion,

Anger burnt in his ageing eye

But how to quell us he hadn’t a notion.

Lost, bewildered, a baited bear,

He’d stand and suffer loud commotion,

With fluttering hands would stand and swear.


Our regular rioting got him the sack,

Tuesday arrived and he wasn’t there:

Some were regretful and felt his lack.

A gentle spirit, fatherly kind,

He always took his punishments back

At the end of class, if only you whined,

Or else forgot them as soon as given,

Having no room in his large mind

For misdemeanours, for sinners unshriven,

For impositions, for ‘lines’ and such;

He would forgive until seventy times seven,


O rare Mr Robinson, I owe you much:

You taught me more than I knew, although,

Of chemistry, nothing remains in my clutch

But the watery marriage of H and O.



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