We called him rigor mortis
he talked quickly, very quickly
and in the days before vivid markers
burned up the white powder – chalk.
He appeared a little misguided,
seem to think final year chemistry students preferred,
the furtive indiscretions of molecules
and the opposite sex.
He advised : “urged,” additional reading
claiming some of the examples recommended
would “assist understanding.”
“assist understanding,” proclaimed in the same tone
as proselytizers of
spiritual healing and food supplements as cure.
three days before the exam I looked at ….
make no sense at all –
not for the life of me.
“Oh this one,” he said gleaming,
it separates understanding from knowledge –
an antidote to cram learning.
You can’t begin to attempt it, unless you really do know.”
He stepped me through it, line by line …
stopping and checking –
making sure I really did.
Two days later, the exam …… and identikit example.