Human Journey

Sonnet for Shakespeare’s Birthday/Earth Day

What better way to celebrate the bard (and the planet) than a bit of well-intentioned doggerel?


Four hundred years it takes for Earth to blink

‘Cause she be large and moveth glacially slow.

‘Tis hardly time enough for her to think

“Whence did my poet-playwright boyfriend go?”


For he’d proclaim her praises left and right,

Compareth things with her each time he spoke.

A summer day, the wind, the snow so white:

Cramm’d into every scene and bawdy joke.


Attention like that she could use again

So lifeless seem our tables, stats, and charts.

A pox and curse be put upon man’s brain!

Let’s put to use our too-long silent hearts.


So happy day, dear Shakespeare, of your birth

And happy day, dear planet, naméd Earth.


More Shakespeare From National Geographic

Map of Shakespeare’s Britain

Common Words Coined by Shakespeare


Andrew Howley is a longtime contributor to the National Geographic blog, with a particular focus on archaeology and paleoanthropology generally, and ancient rock art in particular. In 2018 he became Communications Director at Adventure Scientists, founded by Nat Geo Explorer Gregg Treinish. Over 11 years at the National Geographic Society, Andrew worked in various ways to share the stories of NG explorers and grantees online. He also produced the Home Page of for several years, and helped manage the Society's Facebook page during its breakout year of 2010. He studied Anthropology with a focus on Archaeology from the College of William & Mary in Virginia. He has covered expeditions with NG Explorers-in-Residence Mike Fay, Enric Sala, and Lee Berger. His personal interests include painting, running, and reading about history. You can follow him on Twitter @anderhowl and on Instagram @andrewjhowley.
  • Meetika Srivastava

    A wrote an ode to Shakespeare sometime back happy b’day to the “bard of avon”

  • Ima Ryma

    On April 23rd, ’tis said
    William Shakespeare was born and died.
    Prose and poetry from his head
    Was penned and performed far and wide.
    His words outlive his flesh and bone
    As only human ways can do,
    To be beyond life and death known,
    Beyond the man that neighbors knew.
    The world of Shakespeare as the man
    Was relatively short and small.
    His words reached out in global span
    To touch in time and space for all.

    Could Shakespeare have predicted that
    He’d round the Earth that was not flat?

About the Blog

Researchers, conservationists, and others share stories, insights and ideas about Our Changing Planet, Wildlife & Wild Spaces, and The Human Journey. More than 50,000 comments have been added to 10,000 posts. Explore the list alongside to dive deeper into some of the most popular categories of the National Geographic Society’s conversation platform Voices.

Opinions are those of the blogger and/or the blogger’s organization, and not necessarily those of the National Geographic Society. Posters of blogs and comments are required to observe National Geographic’s community rules and other terms of service.

Voices director: David Braun (

Social Media