sometimes the universe leaves me speechless.
(but not always for very long).
Having heard a very little about, but never watched, Star Trek: Discovery, I just started watching the series a month or so ago, discovering (haha) that, like Star Trek: Picard, so much of the archetypal work I’ve been doing personally and creatively is all interwoven with it. Well, of course it is—all of our narratives are informed by deep archetypes. It’s one of those things you can’t unsee once you see it.
Intermittently as I watch the first half of Season 2, I’ve had my long-estranged brother reaching out to talk, in need of some help. His sister’s help. My brother and I were very bonded when we were little and survived hell together in our formative years. And we rebelled together against the sometimes sadistic tyranny of our step-father in later childhood, too.
I couldn’t have planned a coincidence like that even if I tried. Neither could he.
And just now, while watching the episode “If Memory Serves,” I had this moment of—what’s the word? Jaw-dropping incredulity that made me cry? Something like that. There’s this exchange between Michael Burnham and Spock that … well, used at least one word that left me feeling like the universe is something of an eavesdropper who likes to play telephone with script-writers. Like something I’d written privately was taken almost verbatim and delivered elsewhere (at least it was delivered somewhere).
But maybe the show’s script was written first and I’ve got the chain of this cosmic telephone game flipped around. I can’t recall when I wrote what I did that was so nearly echoed in the show—it would have been sometime in late 2018, or maybe early-mid 2019? Maybe the episode actually aired before I wrote what I did. My memory doesn’t always serve, especially when it comes to ordering time (hey—that’s actually an evolutionary advantage, so if you’ve found your memory of events-in-time a bit clock-droopy in the past year, its a sign that you’re successfully adapting to the stressors in the environment brought on by the pandemic).
I’m not being more specific and on purpose, because that isn’t the point. The point is, I’d not seen the show and didn’t know that it or its dialogue was unfolding at the same time as my own, less epic, personal dramas.
Sisters and brothers all, love is everyone’s bedrock. We all share it. It’s a good discovery to have uncovered.
With that said, I’ll share a poem I wrote back in May 2019 that came to mind while I was working on this post.
I’d started jotting down bits and pieces of it back in March 2019. I let the pieces sit for awhile, until one day while I was trying to work on something else (a seminar paper on Lord Byron’s Manfred) the poem issued itself fully finished. That’s also similar to the process by which my poem about Atlas worked itself out, too. This one is about Icarus (and his shadow, the Minotaur).
And, I see the upcoming episode of Star Trek: Discovery evokes the name of Daedalus. Cool.
So to Spock, his perception of unreadiness, his half-breed freakishness, and the failures of time and logic, I dedicate this poem:
When the bough breaks
on whom do we blame the fall?
rock a bye baby don’t you cry
“the unnatural offspring of a woman and a beast”
the projection of shame for the violence
of mother-stripped instincts
locked in a labyrinth
for sacrificial pride
and the curse so oft rehearsed
at the bedside
rock a bye baby don’t you cry
it’s all gonna fall now
the gods forgot how
the stories go
from cradle to casket
til all that’s left is human
only blood and sweat and dust left
ate one bite, that’s all
just one for the fall
of the father and his limited sight
made wings suited only for his own plight
his own wisdom and scope:
“don’t soar too high nor too low
or these narrow-band wings
won’t last as far as we need go.”
He knows his own limits
fears the sky and the sea
though his creation by nature
must exceed them:
his legacy is discovery.
so Icarus’ problem was not
hubris or heedless folly
but in soaring on the wings of his father’s
and the subsequent prevention
of nurturing the vision
of inborn sight
that soars on the power of—
the making of—
his own flight.
Oh…. his legacy is discovery. Star Trek : Discovery. So, the world is cool and, it’s cool to find evidence that I really do belong here, and probably the most when I stop trying so hard.