Mike Barrett

(June,1943 / Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada)

A Lesson


' Turn the Bunsen
Up a little higher,
O.K. -
Move the tube
Just a little lower. '

' There? '

' Yes. Good!
Now, gently sway it
Through the flame -
But not too quickly! '

' Add another drop
Of this solution? '

' Yes. '

' We should have it
any second now. '

' We should. '

' See, it’s clouding! '

The mass precipitates.

' Careful!
Not too hot!
Christ, watch that flame! '

' Don't let that bubble! '

ZAPOP! ! !

'Turn off the gas.
The garbage chute is there -
Beneath the crucifix! '


© M. Barrett – all rights reserved

Submitted: Sunday, October 20, 2013
Edited: Saturday, November 23, 2013

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Poet's Notes about The Poem

In March,1962 I was a student at U.N.B. in Fredericton, New Brunswick. At that time my major was in Science; however I was beginning to understand that this subject area was not my true calling. I wrote this poem one night having completed yet another Chemistry lab earlier that afternoon.

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