Linus Pauling Clerihew

Linus Pauling –
Found his Nobel calling
First – as a Chemist –
Then – as a Peace activist

02.15.95 – 07.12.95

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Copyright by Minh Tan on listed dated of completion
and published in Perspectives, ISBN 0-9686250-0-2.

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Notes to this poem…

I don’t know when it was, exactly, that I decided to do my clerihews in sets of people by what they were known but by the time I wrote this one, I was well on my way. Originally, it had just been from a cute rhyme or thought about someone. Then while I was on that someone, I thought of his/her contemporaries to see if I could write something “comparative” to group some clerihews into something sort of a longer poem. It could be done since each clerihew did not need a title with the first line being the compulsory name of the subject. I just didn’t write the clerihew groupings in order like one poem, but just finished them as they came to me over time… and as the ideas for new people about whom to write came to me over time.

Linus Pauling was a chemist known for many things, including his fervent passion for the value of Vitamin C to human health. Ultimately, though, to me, the fact he was one of those people who was great at everything he did that inspired me most. He was a chemist for the ages, sure, even among other Nobel Prize chemists. He also worked in X-ray crystallography in which I had worked and studied in my B.Sc. years. However, on top of that, Linus also had a Nobel Prize for Peace in 1963 for his campaign against above ground nuclear testing. He was about far more than chemistry in a field where many were of the stereotype “mad scientist” lacking much social skill, never mind having social influence, among whom you could have counted me. This was the role model person I wanted to aspire to were I to have remained a chemist.

The thing was, I never remained a chemist. I couldn’t hack it, and it wasn’t good for my health, physical or mental, not to mention social. I went to graphic design that was more easily explained, had no solvents to deal with, had more human contact and more human contact in more sectors as so many types of organizations needed graphic design, afforded some left and right brain usage that was more balanced and to my liking, etc. Then I moved on to public service that also afforded more public influence. That’s where I am today, but no less admiring of Linus Pauling and his accomplishments.

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