By now, you know I love writing silly poetry. I like learning new forms and playing with the rhyme schemes, discovering which words fit the pattern and the meaning.
You also know I love tardigrades. These tiny animals are about the size of a comma on this page. They are found in forests and are also called water bears or moss piglets. Scientists have studied them and found that they can survive intense heat, years of being dried out, and even the vacuum of outer space.
So, there is the mystery. WHY would an animal on Earth have evolved these features? What ELSE can they do?
It is their mysterious origins and almost cute “bear-like” features that have inspired our friend Betsy Streeter to do a series of drawings that celebrate their versatility in cartoon-ish hyperbole. You can find more of her work on Instagram @betsystreeter or email her at tinyletter.com/betsystreeter.
Her drawings, in turn, have inspired me to write a parody of Shakespeare’s Sonnet 18 about the little critters.
From “Sonnet 18”
Shall I compare thee to a summer’s gnat?
Thou art more handsome and more alluring
Mere swats can squash a tiny bug like that,
But tardigrade, thou art ‘ere enduring
Sometimes too hot the eye of heaven shines
The tardigrade just laughs and snuggles down
Sometimes the icy voice of space opines
The tardigrade regards it without frown
For thy eternal tiny-ness goes on,
Delighting those with minds which seek you out
Thy protein-bas’ed armor thou shalt don
Proving thy just perfection, without doubt
So long as we can live, and learn and see,
Thou, tardigrade, our Shakespeare-buddy, be.
Silliness reigns supreme!