The Star Trek Cycle

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These poems are the result of a tennis-like volley of poems between me and Fragano Ledgister on Making Light in the Spring of 2007. It was not quite a competition, nor quite a race, since he's clearly the better poet, and can write a sonnet much faster than I. In some ways it was sort of an antiphonal chant.

We'll find another Scot, one who will cope

with situations dire and distressed.

When ask'd for all he has, he calls for hope,

delivering much more than he's assessed.

He fusses with the things in his domain.

Moves the widget left a jot or two.

On framistat, first thinks, then ups the gain,

satisfaction comes after a try or two.

His words are practical for he will not

use poesy. There never can be letup

in his work, or stay, as he was taught

that all must function when told "Beam me up!"

It's not the kind of thing that we'd forget.

The Road Goes Ever On

More generations fly out to the black.

Bigger ships and longer treks and still

we need to see the far side of the hill.

Now we carry counselors to stay on track,

partners and children who share the knack

of making space a home. We always will

meet other beings as friends and still

we carry guns; some won't be friendly back.

So we have moved our lives to space in full,

no reason now for going back to Earth.

From time to time we find that our thoughts go

back to our species' home, we feel the pull

of life like ours. The feeling passes as re-birth

of yearning for the sky says, "Make it so!"

For generations we expanded from the core.

Now in deep space we find ourselves immersed

in plots, intrigues with gods, revenge, and war.

The future that we valued seems accursed.

Must our long trek be held back, changed, coerced

into a trial of arms, holding in store

a long and bloody slide that ends in first

much misery and death, then slams the door

on all our upward progress? There's no more

evil outlook we can see. We have traversed

the realm of gods; we think that with their lore

we can transcend the fate that's on us burst.

Assuming we prevail, it's not the end,

then maybe next with zombies we'll contend.

There's some would have our ship bear a new name:

"Ahasuerus", "Falkenberg", some name of strife.

The space ahead is vast, unknown, not tame:

our getting home will take ten years of life.

We'll visit stars and planets strange and fair

and dangerous to any passing through. We might

find one-eyed shepherds or a tempter's lair,

savor feast, bear famine, have to talk or fight.

Our captain sits the bridge, takes watch and watch,

so each alert will find her poised to deal

with what impedes our flight. We know

that weird as what we've seen, it's not a patch

on what comes next. Looking forward still we feel

the less for those we lost who cannot go.

A five year mission to the sky,

to trek beyond our ken, see what abides

where stars amid the blackness cause

our wonder. We seek out and befriend beings

most unlike us, who also answer to the force

that pushes us. Alliance is the best result.

The next generation enlarges the result

of the past. We trek still further in the sky

to make more friends. We've found that force

is not the only way to deal. Earth abides

in peace and learns from all the beings

we find. As time goes on we join in common cause.

Out in the deep, old tensions may cause

war. To pick a side could choose the wrong result,

adding strength to actions of the beings

who seek to rule us. But still the sky

holds wonders beyond telling: our hope abides

in gods in other space. We pray their force.

A ship in peril, thrown through space by force

unknown, two crews opposed must now find common cause.

The trek to home is long, our hope abides

in speed and not accepting any bad result.

We meet new folk who also roam the sky;

while some are allies, some are hostile beings.

We look back at how some other beings

first found us, to start us on the trek. The force

that drives us shapes our way into the sky;

we set forth using our own skills. The cause

of strife comes out of time. The best result

comes only with great trial, if strength abides.

Now look beyond the space where peace abides

and plan new treks to find new beings

unlike us as may be. If the result

is good or bad, does not matter to the force

that drives us on, no matter what. The cause

we follow is to make a culture in the sky.

The force that pushes life beyond the sky

can cause some single beings much woe.

The long result at last is what abides.