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, nam├ęd Earth.


More Shakespeare From National Geographic

Map of Shakespeare’s Britain

Common Words Coined by Shakespeare


Human Journey

Meet the Author
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.