Tardigrade Poetry

Dear Liza,

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.

A tardigrade

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?

A different tardigrade (I think, it’s hard to really tell…)

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.

“Alas, poor Yorick, I knew him, Horatio…..”
”Bardigrade” by Betsy Streeter

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!

Love,

Grandma Judy

Author: Judy

I am a new transplant to Portland from Salinas, a small city in Central California. This is a blog about my new city.

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