Axolotl Poems

© Helena Okulski

I find you incredibly fascinating

I find you incredibly fascinating

Because you are champion at regenerating

Almost every organ that one could name,

I guess this is what caused all of your fame.

You look so cute, eyes black and gills pink,

Sometimes I wonder what you might think.

Your brain is my favorite organ to study

Even though it is small compared to your body.

Some say that you’re stupid, but I think you’re smart

Because playing dumb is quite an art.

We still have to prove that this is true

But even if not, I still cherish you!

-Katharina Lust

I look at you with all my questions

I look at you with all of my questions

And you, unaware, adorably swim away.

I can feed you and watch you eat,

And sometimes you will even smile at me.

I can also talk to you,

But, alas, you will not answer

Much less reveal what I crave to know.

Why are you so special? How do you survive?

You keep restoring your body in front of my eyes.

You mesmerize me from the day you come to the world.

I can watch you develop before my eyes,

Or regrow a limb from time to time.

But “How do you do it?” I will always ask myself.

And meanwhile you hide your secrets behind your smile.


-Simona Gioe

Ode to the Axolotl

Stealthing beneath the stone

With the dark prince or alone

Basking or surviving the iPhone paparazzi

Who knows? That pale grin

Still, waiting, watching

Unfathomable magnetism

Doing what the others don’t dare

                        –Elly Tanaka

There was a nice lad-axolotl

There was a nice lad-axolotl,

It had four limbs, a heart, a tail,

But once cut nasty science-human

Those limbs, and heart, and tail.


And thought a nice lad-axolotl:

“What if I get my limbs again?”

And grew blastema, magic tissue,

Which information retained.


But how? Today is still unknown,

And studies now Tanaka lab,

Why limbs remember how to grow,

And beats regenerated heart.


-Anastasia Polikarpova

Ten little axolotl

Ten little axolotls were swimming in a tank,

Elad came to clean the water so only 9 remained.


Nine little axolotls wanted to find their friend,

one jumped out of the water breaking his tiny hand.

Nastya came to help, so only 8 remained.


Eight little axolotls were waiting to be seen,

one got electroporated and ended up in green.


Seven little axolotls were unsure about their fate,

one got taken by Akane who wanted to investigate

their chromatin state.


Six little axolotls were increasing their frustration,

surprised by Wouter who came by to study their segmentation.


Five little axolotls were looking afraid in each other’s faces,

but Katharina needed one for neural lineage traces.


Four little axolotls remained without a clue,

Leo pretended to help them out, searching for hand 2.


Three little axolotls were tired of losing a friend,

so, one decided to throw himself into the ethanol tank.


Two little axolotls were wondering who will be left,

Pietro needed the biggest one, so he committed theft.


One sad and lonely little axolotl thought that this is

how it ends, but then he was put in the big IMP aquarium and

met his regenerated friends.


You might think oh that is nice, what a happy end.

but don’t forget, Yuka and Takuji are coming back

and they have something differently planned…


-Helena Okulski & Birgit Ritschka

I would like to tell you the story of Ambystoma mexicanum

I would like to tell you the story of Ambystoma mexicanum
but be advised, to do so, i have to break poetic canon!
The salamander that I’m talking about
– with gills next to necks and a very cute snout –
is always in water, therefore quite clean.
His names axolotl, you know who I mean.

In our eyes they are amazing creations,
because they don’t mind limb amputations.
We cut off their finger, their gills and their tails,
we irradiate their brain, if all else fails.

“In the name of science!” we prouldy proclaim –
regeneration in humans, that is our aim!
Yet not everything is nice and dandy,
for sometimes they do drugs, like little kids candy.
Benzocaine is their poisons name,
and they really play a dangerous game.

They drink it, they breath it, they eat it, they love it,
and they all do it with our watchful eyes above it!
Because as soon as they are out, we go berserk,
and let scalpel and scissor and needle to work.

These actions might come off as wrong,
but I assure you, our love for these animals is burning strong!
When we are done with our experiments,
and have recorded all the fluorescence,
– there’s no need for excessive alarm –
we simply send them off to a countryside farm!

Now, this poems rhymes were terrible, and its structure lacking
that’s because instead of writing, the author was slacking.
But despite it being such artistic transgression,
I still hope you enjoyed this axolotl-love-confession.

-Klaus Ehrlinger

An axolotl Christmas

Hey axolotl, hey axolotl,

Where are you going, with your pink frilly bow?

“I’m off to the ball”, they said,

And to Vienna did they go.


A swish and a flick,

Straight down the Danube,

Accessory limbs

Mean swimming speed is improved.


Arrived at the Rathaus,

Axolotl saw a mouse,

“Could you give me a hand

To put the Tannenbaum on the stand?”


“Why cute little mouse,

Of course I can help,

You can even keep the hand,

I’ll just grow another one”


Glühwein in hand,

And full of laughter,

Axolotl danced

To some questionable Schlager


Oh axolotl, oh axolotl,

Keep us company a while.

What we want

Is to see your beautiful smile.


-Leo Otsuki