Star Trek: The Film That Started It All

In late December of 2012 — shortly after the world did not end — I saw Star Trek as directed by JJ Abrams on television for the first time. I had seen a few scenes of the original series at this point only from channel-surfing and waiting for other shows to come on. But I’d heard this new movie was good, paid tribute to the die-hard fans, and served as a solid introduction for non-Trekkies.

I liked it. A lot. Kirk was equal parts rakish and idealistic. Spock possessed machine logic and animal grace. Bones was all fables and foibles. Uhura (and her roommate) got the film past the Bichdel test by the skin of its teeth. Scotty was a slave to his mechanical passions and rebellious to all other forms of submission. Sulu knew how to drive AND sword fight. Chekhov was totally adorkable.

Because of this film I had to watch the entire original series from beginning to end. It was that good. I did not intend for it to turn into a poetry project, let alone a poetry experience, but it did. I got halfway through the series in about a month. It’s taken me years now to finish the rest because life and nonsense and the closer I get to the end the more I don’t want it to end.

Is that why I’ve been slipping on the schedule lately? Ugh. That would be so like me.

Here’s the sonnet admiring the way the film captures the original characters while setting them out on their new trajectory:

Bone white, blood read or copper sheathed,
“Man” comes from the Latin for hand;
man is all airs that have been breathed,
all stps taken on every land,
and so much more, and yet still more;
following hand to limb to core —
where so resides what Time can’t change
though he turn back and rearrange —
seen and unseen the seeds remain,
so though the tree may turn new leaves
sweet Fate corrects as she yet weaves;
seen and unseen the seeds remain
to steady those new to the till,
as yet old hands set forth to skill.