Eratosphere Forums - Metrical Poetry, Free Verse, Fiction, Art, Critique, Discussions Able Muse - a review of poetry, prose and art

Forum Left Top

Notices

Reply
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Unread 11-07-2019, 06:59 PM
Martin Elster Martin Elster is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Connecticut, USA
Posts: 6,224
Default Ode to the Tardigrade

Revision 5 a

Ode to the Tardigrade


Tardigrade on the Moon—
will you perish soon?
Parked in her immense
left eye, you have the sense

(since there is neither air
nor moss nor water there)

to curl into a ball,
dry out and, thus, forestall

the death that would ensue
for anyone but you.
A wizard at survival
you’ve not a single rival,

for when an asteroid
dives headlong from the void
and pummels us, you’ll chuckle
as we collapse and buckle.

For half a billion years
through sea-changed biospheres,
you’ve been here. There’s no doubt
your mastery stands out,

your expertise at cheating
the Reaper as you’re heating
to feverish degrees
or cooling down to freeze

(without so much as sneezing,
shivering, or wheezing)
to paralyzing zero.
And so, my tiny hero,

when we again alight
upon the Moon some night,
be kind and do not chortle
at souls so frail and mortal!


Revision 5 b

Ode to the Tardigrade


Tardigrade on the Moon—
will you perish soon?
Retracting head and feet
(a trick that’s neat and sweet),
you keep yourself alive
enough so you’ll revive,

repair your DNA
to live another day.
Parked in the Moon’s immense
left eye, you have the sense
to curl into a ball,
dry out and, thus, forestall

the death that would ensue
for anyone but you.
A wizard at survival,
you’ve not a single rival,
for when an asteroid
dives headlong from the void

and pummels us, you’ll chuckle
as we collapse and buckle.
For half a billion years
through sea-changed biospheres,
you’ve been here. There’s no doubt
your mastery stands out,

your expertise at cheating
the Reaper as you’re heating
to feverish degrees
or cooling down to freeze
(without so much as sneezing,
shivering, or wheezing)


to paralyzing zero.
And so, my little hero,
when we again alight

upon the Moon some night,
be kind and do not chortle
at souls so frail and mortal!



Revision 4 a

Ode to the Tardigrade


Tardigrade on the Moon—
will you perish soon?
A tube with tubby limbs,
in tune with the world’s whims,


retracting head and feet,
a trick that’s neat and sweet,
you keep yourself alive
enough so you’ll revive,

repair your DNA
to live another day.
Parked in the Moon’s immense
left eye, you have the sense

to curl into a ball,
dry out and, thus, forestall
the death that would ensue
for anyone but you.

A wizard at survival,
you’ve not a single rival,
for when an asteroid
dives headlong from the void

and pummels us, you’ll chuckle
as we collapse and buckle.
For half a billion years
through sea-changed biospheres,

you’ve been here. There’s no doubt
your mastery stands out,
your expertise at cheating
the Reaper as you’re heating

to feverish degrees
or cooling down to freeze
near paralyzing zero.
You are my tiny hero!

So when again we light
upon the Moon some night,

be kind and do not chortle
at souls so frail and mortal!



Revision 4 b

Ode to the Tardigrade


Tardigrade on the Moon—
will you perish soon?

Retracting head and feet,
a trick that’s neat and sweet,

you keep yourself alive
enough so you’ll revive,

repair your DNA
to live another day.

Parked in the Moon’s immense
left eye, you have the sense

to curl into a ball,
dry out and, thus, forestall

the death that would ensue
for anyone but you.

A wizard at survival,
you’ve not a single rival,

for when an asteroid
dives headlong from the void

and pummels us, you’ll chuckle
as we collapse and buckle.

For half a billion years
through sea-changed biospheres,

you’ve been here. There’s no doubt
your mastery stands out.

So when again we light
upon the Moon one night,

be nice and do not chortle
at souls so frail and mortal!



Revision 3

Ode to the Tardigrade


Tardigrade on the Moon—
will you perish soon?
Retracting head and feet,
a trick that’s neat and sweet,
you keep yourself alive
enough so you’ll revive,

repair your DNA
to live another day.
Parked in the Moon’s immense
left eye, you have the sense
to curl into a ball,
dry out and, thus, forestall

the death that would ensue
for anyone but you.
A wizard at survival,
you’ve not a single rival,
for when an asteroid
dives headlong from the void

and pummels us, you’ll chuckle
as we collapse and buckle.
For half a billion years
through sea-changed biospheres,
you’ve been here. There’s no doubt
your mastery stands out,

your expertise at cheating
The Grim Reaper, and beating
the odds as we are heating
you past 300 degrees
or cooling you down to freeze
at close to absolute zero.

You are my tiny hero!
When we step once more on the moon,
secure in our cocoon,
you’ll watch us and you’ll chortle
at souls so frail and mortal.



Revision 2

Ode to the Tardigrade


Tardigrade on the Moon—
will you perish soon?
Retracting head and feet,
a trick that’s neat and sweet,
you keep yourself alive
enough so you’ll revive,
repair your DNA,
to live another day.
Parked in an immense
eye, you have the sense

to bend into a ball,
dry out and, thus, forestall
the death which would ensue
for anything but you,
a wizard at survival.
You’ve not a single rival,
for when an asteroid
rushes from the void
and pummels us, you’ll chuckle
as we collapse and buckle.
For half a billion years
through sea-changed biospheres,
you’ve been here. Without a doubt
your mastery stands out,
your expertise at cheating
The Grim Reaper, beating
the odds as we are heating
you past 300 degrees
or cooling you down to freeze
at close to absolute zero.
You are my tiny hero!
When we step once more on the moon,
secure in our cocoon,
you’ll watch us and you’ll chortle
at souls so frail and mortal.


Revised Lines 9-12 after posted Revision 2.

Lines 9-12 were

And yet I doubt you’re freezing,
hacking, wheezing, sneezing.
Bent into a ball,
you dry out and forestall
the death which would ensue
for anything but you,
a wizard at survival.



Revision

Ode to the Tardigrade


Tardigrade on the Moon—
will you perish soon?
Tardigrade in space—
what trials do you face?
You curl into a tun state—
unfeeling—not a fun state!
Retracting head and feet,
a trick that’s neat and sweet,
you keep yourself alive
enough so you’ll revive,
repair your DNA,
to live another day
when plonked in water. Wow!
That’s quite a feat. But how?
How do you do it? Magic?
It could be truly tragic
waiting in a crater.
And yet I doubt you’re freezing,
hacking, wheezing, sneezing.
Parked on a radiator?
Plopped in boiling juice?
For most life that’s abuse.
Gamma radiation
or vacuum? A vacation!
Bent into a ball,
you dry out and forestall
the death which would ensue
were you not a tried and true
wizard at survival.
You’ve not a single rival,
for when an asteroid
rushes from the void
and pummels us, you’ll chuckle
as we collapse and buckle.
For half a billion years
through sea-changed biospheres,
your kind has been on Earth.
But if you said your birth
took place near Alpha Centauri,
I might believe your story
since beings so bizarre
could come from a far-off star.
You’re not, though. Without a doubt
your mastery stands out,
your expertise at cheating
The Grim Reaper, beating
the odds as we are heating
you past 300 degrees
or cooling you down to freeze
at close to absolute zero.
You are my tiny hero!
When we step once more on the moon,
secure in our cocoon,
you’ll watch us and you’ll chortle
at souls so frail and mortal.



Ode to the Tardigrade

Tardigrade on the Moon—
will you perish soon?
Tardigrade in space—
what trials do you face?
You curl into a tun state—
unfeeling—not a fun state!
Retracting head and feet,
a trick that’s neat and sweet,
you keep yourself alive
enough so you’ll revive,
repair your DNA,
to live another day
when plonked in water. Wow!
That’s quite a feat. But how?
How do you do it? Magic?
It would be truly tragic
for other kinds of creatures
to desiccate. The features
that keep you, water bear,
from dying are so rare,
no other living thing
has such a way to cling
to life in such adverse
conditions. What is worse
than waiting in a crater?
And yet I doubt you’re freezing,
hacking, wheezing, sneezing.
Parked on a radiator?
Plopped in boiling juice?
For most life that’s abuse.
Gamma radiation
or vacuum? A vacation!
Bent into a ball,
you dry out and forestall
the death which would ensue
were you not a tried and true
wizard at survival.
You’ve not a single rival,
for when an asteroid
rushes from the void
and pummels us, you’ll chuckle
as we collapse and buckle.
For half a billion years
through sea-changed biospheres,
your kind has been on Earth.
But if you said your birth
took place near Alpha Centauri,
I might believe your story
since beings so bizarre
could come from a far-off star.
You’re not, though. Evolution’s
what yielded these solutions
to drought. Without a doubt
your mastery stands out,
your expertise at cheating
The Grim Reaper, beating
the odds as we are heating
you past 300 degrees
or cooling you down to freeze
at close to absolute zero.
You are my tiny hero!
When we step once more on the moon,
secure in our cocoon,
you’ll watch us and you’ll chortle
at souls so frail and mortal.

Last edited by Martin Elster; 11-21-2019 at 10:34 AM.
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Unread 11-07-2019, 11:41 PM
Ron Greening Ron Greening is offline
New Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Rural Manitoba
Posts: 54
Default

Hello Martin,

This three-footed rhyming marathon is fun and clever. I found the rhymes on whole to be delightful and as a kid’s poem would be super for developing vocabulary. The places you varied the rhyming couplet pattern seem a bit like you cheated on your own rule but you could easily plead variety.

A point of silly contention: a dune is sand accumulated by wind. The moon has no atmosphere.

Should sea changed be hyphenated?

I find myself still smiling from reading it.
Ron
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Unread 11-08-2019, 12:26 AM
Martin Elster Martin Elster is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Connecticut, USA
Posts: 6,224
Default

Hi Ron,

Many thanks for commenting, and I'm happy you enjoyed it. I suppose this could be for kids, though I'm hoping grown-ups could also get some pleasure from it.

I made some tweaks based on your two nits. You are totally correct that there are no dunes on the moon. There are hills and mountains that could resemble dunes, but there is no atmosphere as you said. So I changed that line ("perhaps from a dusty dune") to "secure in our cocoon" (space suit or some kind of artificial habitat). I also hyphenated "sea-changed."

By the way, I added a couple of lines shortly after I posted the poem — "Parked on a radiator?" and "through sea-changed biospheres" — because I noticed that there were two words without a rhyme pair, which bothered me. But I quickly came up with those couple of lines and they seemed to work (although the "radiator" line strays a bit from the couplet form, but, as you said, it's a bit of poetic license).

Thanks again, Ron.

Best,

Martin

Last edited by Martin Elster; 11-08-2019 at 11:02 AM.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Unread 11-11-2019, 08:43 AM
Aaron Novick Aaron Novick is online now
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2016
Location: Lafayette, Indiana
Posts: 1,925
Default

Martin, this one doesn't work for me. Tardigrades are cool critters indeed, and this poem aims to be fun with its trimeter couplets, but it gets really exhausting. In large part just because of the sheer length. You give me more detail than I need or want, and some of it is ultimately very prosaic, e.g.:
The features
that keep you, water bear,
from dying are so rare,
no other living thing
has such a way to cling
to life in such adverse
conditions.
and:
Evolution’s
what yielded these solutions
to drought.
I'd personally prefer to see a shorter poem that makes the crucial point more pithily, arriving at the strong final couplet. If you want to keep it longer, I think you need more variation (or line length, or rhyme scheme, or whatever it may be) to sustain interest.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Unread 11-11-2019, 08:39 PM
Martin Elster Martin Elster is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Connecticut, USA
Posts: 6,224
Default

Hi Aaron,

Thanks for your feedback.

I’m glad you like the ending, because that’s my favorite part, too. You may be right about the lines you felt were prosaic, so I cut those and connected the ones that came before and after them. I think I like the fact that the poem is a bit shorter now. That’s the main thing I was worried about, so thanks again for mentioning it!

I, too, think tardigrades are cool and remarkable creatures.

Best,

Martin
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Unread 11-12-2019, 07:14 PM
Mary Meriam's Avatar
Mary Meriam Mary Meriam is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: usa
Posts: 7,309
Default

Hi Martin, I think you need to delete more than ten (?) lines. Unlike the original, I did make it through the revision, but it bogs down too often in redundancies and silliness. I think this could be good light verse with some trimming. I crossed out the parts that don't work well. Better not to say "doubt" twice. For good measure, I put the lines I like best in red. It would be stronger to revise clichés like "tried and true" - take more time to think about and find the best rhyme words.

Tardigrade on the Moon—
will you perish soon?

Tardigrade in space—
what trials do you face?
You curl into a tun state—
unfeeling—not a fun state!

Retracting head and feet,
a trick that’s neat and sweet,
you keep yourself alive
enough so you’ll revive,
repair your DNA,

to live another day
when plonked in water. Wow!
That’s quite a feat. But how?
How do you do it? Magic?
It could be truly tragic
waiting in a crater.

And yet I doubt you’re freezing,
hacking, wheezing, sneezing.
Parked on a radiator?
Plopped in boiling juice?
For most life that’s abuse.
Gamma radiation
or vacuum? A vacation!

Bent into a ball,
you dry out and forestall
the death which would ensue
were you not a tried and true
wizard at survival.
You’ve not a single rival,
for when an asteroid
rushes from the void
and pummels us, you’ll chuckle
as we collapse and buckle.
For half a billion years
through sea-changed biospheres,

your kind has been on Earth.
But if you said your birth
took place near Alpha Centauri,
I might believe your story
since beings so bizarre
could come from a far-off star.

You’re not, though. Without a doubt
your mastery stands out,
your expertise at cheating
The Grim Reaper, beating
the odds as we are heating
you past 300 degrees
or cooling you down to freeze
at close to absolute zero.
You are my tiny hero!
When we step once more on the moon,
secure in our cocoon,
you’ll watch us and you’ll chortle
at souls so frail and mortal.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Unread 11-12-2019, 09:18 PM
Martin Elster Martin Elster is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Connecticut, USA
Posts: 6,224
Default

Thanks very, Mary, for your comments. Your pinpointing of specific lines helped me see things much more clearly.

I’ve trimmed the poem as you suggested, axing all the lines you didn’t care for. I did, however, like the part about the tardigrade looking so bizarre that it could have come from a far-off star (though it's actually from Earth). But I cut that also. The fact that the poem is now way shorter is more crucial than the individual lines I might miss.

I also replaced the cliche of “tried and true” with something else. Hopefully, that’s better now. I appreciate your showing me in red which lines you liked best. That was a huge help!

Best,

Martin
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Unread 11-16-2019, 03:44 PM
Martin Elster Martin Elster is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Connecticut, USA
Posts: 6,224
Default

I noticed after cutting out a bunch of lines, that L9 & L10 didn't fit with the flow anymore, so I changed those lines and made some small tweaks in the next few lines. Does anybody miss the original Lines 9-10?

And yet I doubt you’re freezing,
hacking, wheezing, sneezing.


I changed it to this:

Parked in an immense
eye, you have the sense
to bend into a ball, ...
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Unread 11-18-2019, 01:46 PM
Mark Stone Mark Stone is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Ohio
Posts: 369
Default

Martin,

I have 16 comments. This is a cute poem. I think the poem might be easier to read if it were broken into stanzas. I don’t think you need the comma after “DNA.” I don’t understand what the “immense eye” is; is it the Moon? Would “curl” or “scrunch” be better than “bend”? I would change “death which” to “death that.” If you want to humanize the creature, you could change “anything but you” to “anyone but you.” I would put a period after “anything but you” and start a new sentence with “A wizard at…” To iambicize the meter, you could change “rushes” to “approaches” and change “Without a doubt…” to “There’s no doubt…” and change “cooling you down to freeze” to “cooling you to freeze.” You could make the Grim Reaper line have the same meter as the previous line by putting an “and” before “beating.” To improve the rhyme with “absolute zero,” you could change “tiny hero” to “resolute hero.” You could remove the extra metrical foot by changing “When we step once more on the moon…” to “When we’re back on the moon…” I assume that “cocoon” is a space suit. To make this clear, the line could be changed to “in our space suit cocoon.” I especially like the last two lines.

Mark
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Unread 11-18-2019, 04:01 PM
Martin Elster Martin Elster is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Connecticut, USA
Posts: 6,224
Default

Hi Mark,

Thanks for taking the time to read this and for all those detailed suggestions. It was very helpful! I’m glad you found this “cute,” which is nice to hear, since tardigrades are thought of as being cute critters. They are so small, they can only be seen clearly with a microscope.

How to Find and Care for a Pet Tardigrade (Water Bear):
https://m.wikihow.com/Find-and-Care-...de-(Water-Bear)

Quote:
I think the poem might be easier to read if it were broken into stanzas.
I’m trying out your suggestion with 6-line stanzas, except for the last, which is 5 lines.

Quote:
I don’t think you need the comma after “DNA.”
I've removed the comma.

Quote:
I don’t understand what the “immense eye” is; is it the Moon?
The “immense eye” is the Sea of Serenity (Mare Serenitatis. Mare means Lunar Sea).

In renderings of the “Man in the Moon,” the Sea of Serenity typically forms the left eye. The Mare Serenitatis falls between the Mare Imbrium or Sea of Rains to the west, and the Mare Tranquillitatis (Sea of Tranquility) to the southeast.

I’m glad you mentioned it, because I’ve changed the line to give a hint of what it alludes to:

parked in the Moon’s immense
left eye, you have the sense


Which also, incidentally, fixes the headless iamb of the second.

Quote:
Would “curl” or “scrunch” be better than “bend”?
Now that you mention it, I actually had “curl” in another line that I cut. So maybe I’ll use “curl” in this line. Although I also like “bend” because of the alliteration with “ball”: “to bend into a ball.” But I’ll try “curl.”

Quote:
I would change “death which” to “death that.”
I used “which” in place of “that” because it’s easier to pronounce (“the” at the end of a word and then at the start of the next word slows the reader down). Also, I was using “which” in an informal way. I know “that” is correct, because it’s a restrictive clause. So, I guess I’ll change the line to "that" and see if I like the way it sounds.

Quote:
If you want to humanize the creature, you could change “anything but you” to “anyone but you.”
OK, I’ll humanize the water bear! I think he or she will appreciate it.

Quote:
I would put a period after “anything but you” and start a new sentence with “A wizard at…”
Done.

Quote:
To iambicize the meter, you could change “rushes” to “approaches”
I liked “rushes” for both the image of hurtling and the assonance of “rushes/pummels/chuckle.” But I changed it to “dives headlong from the void,” which is also an image of an object moving very fast.

Quote:
and change “Without a doubt…” to “There’s no doubt…”
Done.

Quote:
and change “cooling you down to freeze” to “cooling you to freeze.”
“Cooling” is a trochaic substitution, which I think may be OK to break up the iambic metronome. Besides, I have an anapest in the very next line: “at close to absolute zero.”

Quote:
You could make the Grim Reaper line have the same meter as the previous line by putting an “and” before “beating.”
OK, I’ll try it.

Quote:
To improve the rhyme with “absolute zero,” you could change “tiny hero” to “resolute hero.”
“Resolute hero” is fine, though I’ve gotten attached to “tiny” for some reason. I will, however, look for other adjectives that might work as well, and also keep “resolute” in mind, which is a good word!

Quote:
You could remove the extra metrical foot by changing “When we step once more on the moon…” to “When we’re back on the moon…”
I think of “when we step” as an anapest, with the first main beat on “step.” I realize that it’s the only line in the poem that starts with an anapest, but I’d rather that than “when we’re back on the moon,” which seems to put undue stress on “we’re” (“when WE’RE back ON the MOON” vs. “when we STEP once MORE on the MOON”). Plus, I like the alliteration of “more/moon.” And I also like the visual and tactile image of “step.” It calls to mind the famous little phrase Neil Armstrong.

Quote:
I assume that “cocoon” is a space suit.
To make this clear, the line could be changed to “in our space suit cocoon.”
Yes, I was, indeed, thinking of a spacesuit, but maybe also an artificial habitat, a domelike building perhaps. Since you thought it was a spacesuit, though, I think I’ll leave the line as is. I don’t mind the slight ambiguity of exactly what the “cocoon” might represent.

I especially like the last two lines.
That's great to hear!

Thanks again, Mark.

Best,
Martin

PS - Revision posted.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump



Forum Right Top
Forum Left Bottom Forum Right Bottom
 
Right Left
Member Login
Forgot password?
Forum LeftForum Right


Forum Statistics:
Forum Members: 8,021
Total Threads: 19,985
Total Posts: 255,637
There are 193 users
currently browsing forums.
Forum LeftForum Right


Forum Sponsor:
Donate & Support Able Muse / Eratosphere
Forum LeftForum Right
Right Right
Right Bottom Left Right Bottom Right

Hosted by ApplauZ Online