Print Email

Medical Humanities

Two Poems

Andrew Silverman

Published January 25, 2020

Frontal release


Though frozen as the leg

The contralateral arm bewilders

Levitating for a moment

In the setting of a yawn


The hemibody falls back asleep as paralysis resumes

Slumber heralded by oscitation

Involuntary pandiculation

Crying back that a synapse remains


How curious a cortical release

Of circuits buried deep 

In the pons of a stroke survivor 

And newborn alike


Should sustain such primal empathy 

And stir a dreaming limb 

To reach out and connect

In a tiresome hospital room

Whitman’s Neuron Doctrine


“To affirm that everything communicates with everything else is equivalent to declaring the absolute unsearchability of the organ of the soul.”

Santiago Ramón y Cajal

Reflections of My Life (1937)

    And yet I contain multitudes. 

Spindles in sleep, memories in wake –

       I, too, celebrate myself,


in song,

   Thalamic gates burst open

To consummate the conscious realm, 

  Searching for the soul,

for love,

for me,

       Only to find that everything does, for now,

 Communicate with everything else.

Editor's Commentary

Andrew Silverman is a medical student at Yale University. He grew up in New York City and went to Brown University, where he studied neuroscience. In medical school, he continued to love the brain sciences and hopes to be a pediatric neurologist. Outside of medicine, he enjoys running, musical comedy, and creative writing.