Poetry at the Post: I guess it’s too late to get a PhD in Chemistry

April 1, 2015

Essay by Bernadette Mayer

I guess it’s too late to live on the farm
I guess it’s too late to move to a farm
I guess it’s too late to start farming

 

"Periodic table (polyatomic)" by DePiep - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons -
“Periodic table (polyatomic)” by DePiep – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons –

It’s Poetry Month and  time for NAPOWRIMO—30 poems in 30 days. The warm-up prompt was to model the opening lines of Bernadette Mayer’s “Essay”  so here is my version:

Essay by Alice-Catherine Jennings, PhD Wannabe,                                                                                                                 —After “Essay” by Bernadette Mayer

I guess it’s to late to study Chemistry.
I guess it’s late to get a PhD at Harvard, Stanford,
U of This or U of That and definitely not at CIT.
I guess it’s too late to study Hess’s law or Henry’s law
or energy equivalence.
I guess I won’t wear a lab coat either.
I guess I’ll never be a chemist now although
I used to work with one in Dallas.
I wish I could be like Rosalind Franklin
and discover something big like the helical structure
of DNA (well, maybe not as she died at 37).
There are doctor-poets and insurance agent-poets.
Mikhail Vasilyevich Lomonoso got to be both a poet
and a chemist, but he is one of the few poet-chemists.
If I could get that PhD in Chemistry, I might….

You know what? I don’t want to be a chemist.
I want to be a ballerina.

I guess it’s too late to be a…

Photographic postcard of the ballerinas Pierina Legnani as Medora (right) and Olga Preobrajenskaya as Gulnare (left) in the scene Le jardin animé from the ballet Le Corsaire.
Photographic postcard of the ballerinas Pierina Legnani as Medora (right) and Olga Preobrajenskaya as Gulnare (left) in the scene Le jardin animé from the ballet Le Corsaire.

2 thoughts on “Poetry at the Post: I guess it’s too late to get a PhD in Chemistry

  1. Alice, now you’ve started a series of poetry similar to the kind children’s writers make a fortune on, i.e., If I give a mouse a mufffin, etc. I’m in love with your idea and will look up this Bernadette Mayer to see if I might emulate her essay. Some of the other lives I would have inhabited: archeologist, geologist, farmer, doctor, scientist–all of the professions, jobs, that require knowing the why’s of things. But I guess it’s never too late to be a philosopher, is it? (Note that chemistry was never on my list!) Kathleen Thompson, MFA in Writing http://www.wordforwordforword.com http://www.wordspinningbykathleen.blogspot.com http://www.kathleenthompsonwrites.com Consulting Editor Writing-excellence.com “Road Scholar,” Alabama Humanities Foundation http://www.ahf.org Author of: Searching for Ambergris, poetry chapbook, Pudding House Publications, 2002 The Nights, The Days, 2008 winner Negative Capability Press Chapbook Series The Shortest Distance, poetry, Coosa River Books, 2009

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