Exploring the Intersection of Poetry and Science

I wrote “My Scientist’s Journey” for all the quiet children in a class, and for my own experience of wearing braids every grade level until I was 16. I had very long hair and it would stay calm in class if I wore oiled braids. Although other girls had stopped braiding their hair after middle school, I continued wearing them. “My Scientist’s Journey” also questions our systems of teaching and what they emphasize.

As a student of the sciences who is passionate about neuroscience, I explore the intersection of literary art and scientific mechanisms. Why are they considered distinct when one is often used to further the thought processes that drive the other? The brain has always fascinated me. It was the unified firing neurons that created flowing poetry. “My Scientist’s Journey” is an ode to all the budding scientists across the world, and a celebration of our respective paths.

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My Scientist’s Journey

I liked wearing long braids with my oiled hair,
And I’m glad that when I cut it, I did so because
I wanted to see what life looked like without tangles
for once,
Not because of their flipping ponytails,
perfectly straight and shining black,
Not because of their stares, their taunts.
I liked quietly ruminating about old pieces of paper
with big words on it that the others thought were too boring,
I moved from your constant whispers
To creating noise for myself.
Today those words stand as the moat with deadly crocodiles,
The printed paper, patterns of my own are carving souls,
these words are my swords.
I would never have perfect photographs of myself,
I would stare at the places I traveled with.
I would never get voted for,
I would never get picked.
I liked to spend my time in closed spaces,
I often stayed within my own head.
And I’d like to think that this is what’s gotten me to exploring through skulls,
Staring at the intricacies of a vast and dense network of connectivity,
The connectivity I haven’t found in people, never in you and me
The brain is silent, the brain is quiet, and in it I find all my company.

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By Spatika Jayaram

Spatika is a fourth year undergraduate student, pursuing an Integrated MS in biology at the Indian Institute of Science Education … Read more ›