Title: The Other
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
Disclaimer: I do not own Star
Trek. Not a molecule, atom,
quark or vibrating
string of it.
(Thanks, Stef, for the consult.)
aged: used here as an adjective, with two
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 [ä], 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
[the] Watcher/T’Rukh: two names for Vulcan’s twin
planet; T’Rukh is counted metrically as a single syllable here
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;
gad-shen: Vulcan word for sunrise; slight stress on
gad-tevan: Vulcan word for sunset; primary stress
first syllable, light stress on final syllable
Our two souls therefore, which are one,
Though I must go, endure not yet
breach, but an expansion,
Like gold to aery thinness beat.
A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning
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
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.
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.
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.