The Other

Title:  The Other

Author:  Shoshana

Summary:  Elderly, ill and impotent, Leonard McCoy reflects

    on his bondmate Spock spending Pon Farr with a surrogate.

Description:  Poem in heroic quatrains

Pairings:  S/Mc   S/surrogate 

Rating:  PG-13 

Disclaimer:  I do not own Star Trek.  Not a molecule, atom,

    quark or vibrating string of it. 

(Thanks, Stef, for the consult.)

 

 

 

 

 

VOCABULARY NOTES:   

aged:  used here as an adjective, with two syllables

plantigrade:   (plan ti grād )  (English/Standard)

in biology, walking on the soles of the feet

Vulcan vocabulary:  all Vulcan words used in this poem are

borrowed from the Vulcan Language Dictionary of the Vulcan

Language Institute.  The English letter “a” is assumed to be

pronounced [], the vowel sound found in the familiar Khan

and katra.  With the exception of katra, two-syllable Vulcan

words in this poem are to be pronounced with stress on the

second syllable. 

[the] Watcher/T’Rukh:  two names for Vulcan’s twin

planet; T’Rukh is counted metrically as a single syllable here

yel: general Vulcan term for sun or star 

adun:  Vulcan word for husband; second syllable stressed,

and pronounced like English “dune”

tel-tor:  Vulcan verb for to bond; to co-join minds as in

marriage; with slight stress on second syllable

r’tas:  the Vulcan year; pronounced with two syllables

(this poem assumes, logically, though presumably against

canon, that Pon Farr occurs every seven Vulcan years)   

las’hark:  Vulcan name for Eridani 40, Vulcan’s sun;

the word derives from the verb lasha, the meanings for

which include to reach a destination or to come at length;  

two syllables

gad-shen:  Vulcan word for sunrise; slight stress on

second syllable     

gad-tevan:  Vulcan word for sunset; primary stress on

first syllable, light stress on final syllable     

 

 

 

   

 

 

     Our two souls therefore, which are one,

        Though I must go, endure not yet

     A breach, but an expansion,

        Like gold to aery thinness beat.

 

A Valediction:  Forbidding Mourning

                        John Donne 

 

 

 

 

In what unknown room do you lodge this morning,    

On nameless street in vast ShiKahr, just three 

Miles distant?  Love the bridge of our souls’ exploring,          

We’ve lived two worlds’ expanse of sand and sea. 

 

In whose arms do you lie this lonely noon

Under a blazing sun whose fevered heat     

Waits seven years to rise?  Flame dawns so soon –    

For me, too late – lust burns until replete. 

 

What virile man do you embrace this eve   

In coupled clasp?  Not this frail, fragile shell,

Aged and worn, from whom you took your leave

Reluctantly, with tender, small farewell. 

 

What words are spoken in this looming dusk

To your companion, tall perhaps, and young

And handsome, slicked with sweat and rutting musk?

No phrase of tenderness will pass your tongue.

 

In what stranger’s bed do you rest this night

Of hot passion long shared with me alone?    

You promised you’ll not ask his name; despite

Your silence, he’ll know yours:  your face is known.

 

In what still hour, by Watcher’s cold light, did            

You, silent, enter here and gently take

My hand, then wait for me to rise?  I chid            

You, Husband, for not bidding me awake. 

 

Why delay, for minute or long hour,

Our lovers’ tryst?  You fear that you forsook

Me:  on your face I glimpsed, green-blooded coward, 

Regret and guilt, by ruddy glow of T’Rukh.

 

Why think that you betrayed me?  Pointy-eared   

Fool, you were not unfaithful; though, a thief,  

For robbing me of precious minutes endeared

By balm of your calm presence:  time grows brief. 

 

What did I ever offer you?  Not wealth,

Beauty, or logic; only human love

And body.  Fleeting prime long past, my health     

Has failed; my vigor wanes like T’Rukh above.

 

What feeble human heart does yours yet hold

So dear?  My withered sex will never rise

Again in eager heat.  Our bed lies cold,  

Uncoupled by companionship’s chaste ties.

 

Remember your bondmate, once potent, whole,

Your Vulcan flame merging with my earthfire?

The meld of bodies, bond of katra, soul, 

Our love a match igniting shared desire?

 

Our final Time together we shared here,

Your ancestral home, before my illness.  Blaze          

Of yel that radiant week we touched; in clear

Skies waxed T’Rukh, flushed in glory of full phase.   

 

Hearth-fire . . . our last Burning . . . we did not know.

We guessed, perhaps; sweeter thus, to remember.

Live spark of passion warms my heart still, though

Lust-quickened flame now falls to cold, dead ember.

                                  

We always knew our love would come to this,    

That into other arms my age would force                 

You; gentle brush of fingers, tender kiss,   

Become our bodies’ only intercourse.

 

For him, a week of transient lust, days spent 

In restless wrestling.  Sixty years, for me, 

Of love enduring, constant and content,    

And single week of solitude’s hard mercy.   

 

For you to take another was an act    

Of love as deep and true as any song   

Of carnal joy our bodies once played, rapt;

Our bonded chords, unsilenced, linger long.

 

Through cords unbroken, fever pitch but started,  

I heard katra’s long ache, half-shielded, hushed:  

//Adun, parted from me and never parted,

Tel-tor, never and always touching and touched.//

 

He spared us, we both know, the greater pain,  

This other man whom I shall never meet:   

I, mauled or by unwitting bondmate slain,     

Your mind or life forfeit in thwarted heat.   

 

That other man bears for me neither face

Nor name, but freely bared for you both mind

And body.  I bestow him gratitude, grace

Beyond forgiveness I long since consigned.

 

Life’s turn of years has left your mate unmanned,

Your bed forsaken.  Forced by seven turns           

R’tas, you took a man; take once more hand

Of the other, he for whom your katra yearns.   

 

So banish guilt, logic and your doctor say;   

You have no need, dearest, to make redress,  

Save love’s warm touch, your hand to mine, today, 

This simple feeling, reunion’s sweet caress.

 

Look:  the horizon glows.  The slender arc

Of T’Rukh is slanting to the west, to greet

Welcoming rays of rising sun las’hark;   

Bright Eridani, fading Watcher, meet.

                

For fleeting time conjoined in sky, the two

Will sail apart, past T’Rukh’s decline this dawn,

With new encounter next gad-shen; but you

Will leave my side no more till I am gone.

 

Dear plantigrade computer:  shush.  Don’t measure

The time left us to share the sky; we can            

Hope for unnumbered sunlit days to treasure,

Till darkness falls with final gad-tevan. 

 

In youthful days we sailed the heavens – found

Love, burgeoned to full bud.  No more we roam,   

For I am old and ailing, planet-bound;      

This desert world and you are now my home.

  

Star wanderers, rootless for long space, on Earth

We taught for twenty years.  Then, to retire,

You asked I leave lush garden of my birth    

For arid waste, alien dust and fire. 

 

Engendered in the barrenness of space,    

The loving logic of our hearts has grown 

And flourished in this sea of sand, a place

Which honors colder logic’s way alone.       

 

Untouched by passing fire, our bond’s staunch flower

Endures.  It springs from ash of passion past, 

To bloom anew until that mortal hour     

One of us – Human, Vulcan – breathes his last.  

  

 

                                       S.

 

 

 

Author’s notes:

The inclusion here of the terms “mile,” “minute,” “week”

and “hour” is anachronistic, but I either couldn’t find the

Vulcan equivalents, or, like English “kilometer,” they

proved unsuitable metrically.

 

Comment on Vulcan pronunciation:   In any form of

poetry dependent on syllable count, including the

accentual-syllabic meters employed in English verse,

the Vulcan sound (or sounds) indicated orthographically

in English by an apostrophe, and often assumed in fandom

to indicate a glottal stop (a consonantal sound), but

commonly pronounced onscreen as a barely perceptible

schwa (a vowel), presents a dilemma:  is the symbol to

be counted as a discrete vowel/syllable boundary?  The

author’s choices, listed above, were based on ear, instinct

and, yes, metrical expediency.  Those choices were

reinforced by a highly technical discussion, found at

http://www.lasatha.org/vald/list/0031.txt, of the

phonology of that symbol, and presumably authored

by individuals involved in the establishment of the

Vulcan Language Institute.

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