Tuesday, 12 June 2012


It could be a shuttlecock
steering its way undersea
except there is no need
for a racquet, when an axon
will do for speed.

It took Huxley and Hodgkin
to have the nerve to steal
the long cord, the stringy thing,
for a wet experiment
sometime after tea.

They zapped that nerve with a charge
big enough to give it shocks
till the amp opened a gate
as it sailed through the lock
and ran on in glee.

The squid’s secret is now freed
and we all can read again
the action and its mystery.
So when a jellyfish bites
the pain will make you scream.

© Lavinia Kumar

The Squid and the Electric Current: Remembering the Work of a Brain Pioneer

Lavinia Kumar lives in New Jersey. Her poetry has appeared in several publications, in the US and UK. She writes a blog for her brother’s seniorsmagazine.org, based in Portsmouth, NH.