The Poets

February 15, 2014

A Poem by Lieutenant Commander Data

I’m hardly what you’d call a Trekkie. Indeed, apart from a few episodes, the original Star Trek with Captain James T. Kirk was a very tiresome series for me. But then 21 years later Gene Roddenberry decided it was time for an ‘update’. Hence the emergence of one of the best television series ever, StarTrek: The Next Generation.

Of the characters Picard, Riker, Tasha Yar, Worf and the rest, I’d have to say that Lieutenant Commander Data is my favorite, hands down. His plight, or should I say, his quest as an android to understand what it means to be human, coupled with his intelligence and humor, have produced some very thought provoking and philosophical episodes- my favorite being, Star Trek (The Next Generation): The Measure of a Man, Season 2 Episode 9.

Another one of my favorite episodes would have to be Star Trek (The Next Generation): Schisms, Season 6 Episode 5. In this episode we’re privileged to hear some of Data’s poetry, and I have to say, for an android, he writes damn good poetry!

I’ll let Data introduce his poem, enjoy ... 

“Throughout the ages, from Keats to Jorkemo, poets have composed odes to individuals who have had a profound effect on their lives. In keeping with that tradition, I have written my next poem in honor of my cat. I call it Ode to Spot.” 

"Ode to Spot" 
by Lieutenant Commander Data (2338 – 2379)

Felis catus is your taxonomic nomenclature,
An endothermic quadruped, carnivorous by nature.
Your visual, olfactory, and auditory senses
Contribute to your hunting skills and natural defenses.
I find myself intrigued by your subvocal oscillations,
A singular development of cat communications
That obviates your basic hedonistic predilection
For a rhythmic stroking of your fur to demonstrate affection.
A tail is quite essential for your acrobatic talents.
You would not be so agile if you lacked its counterbalance.
And when not being utilized to aid in locomotion,
It often serves to illustrate the state of your emotion.
Oh Spot, the complex levels of behavior you display
Connote a fairly well-developed cognitive array,
And though you are not sentient, Spot, and do not comprehend,
I nonetheless consider you a true and valued friend.

Written Stardate 46154.2


Jane De Silentio said...

Thanks for that. Very amusing poem. Data is my favorite Star Trek character (though Picard does come in close second). Oh, how do I follow this blog? It's awesome. I found it by searching for the latin lyrics of In Trutina and loved your interpretation of the poem - the open ambiguity it offered.

John W. May said...

Thank you for stopping by, Jane. Yes, Data's character is utterly awesome, and and at times the most 'human' one on The Next Generation.

During that particular episode, when they cut into the scene where Data was reciting poetry, he was just finishing another that he wrote- it would have been nice to have the whole poem, but here's the last two stanza he delivered:


Then we sat on the sand for some time and observed
How the oceans that cover the world were perturbed
By the tides from the orbiting moon overhead
"How relaxing the sound of the waves is," you said.

I began to expound upon tidal effects
When you asked me to stop, looking somewhat perplexed
So I did not explain why the sunset turns red
And we watched the occurrence in silence instead.

John W. May said...

As far as following this blog, I think all you have to do is scroll all the way down the right column until you reach the 'Followers on this Blog Page' and then just click the 'Join this Site' tab. I'd be honored if you followed this site. Please, come back and comment again- even on older posts ...

John W. May said...

It should be noted, of course, that the poem was actually written by the visual effects artist of Star Trek (The Next Generation, Clay Dale.

As of April 9th, 2010