photo: M. McCarthy

A sign in my local fishmongers sent me down the route of thinking about the portmanteau: two words shunted together to make a new one, in a cut’n’shut sort of way. Slithy. Spect-opus. Spocktacular sprang to mind, so I went looking for images of Mr Spock, from television’s 1966 series Star Trek and from subsequent spin-offs ad infinitum.

It turns out that the optimum medium for such images is websites of tattoos. I was provided with the impressive: Spock combined with horror monster Cthulhu, though I’m claiming it as an octopus.

This was adjacent to a really quite recherché tattoo: a lament (“time is the fire in which we burn”) from a character in the 1994 film Star Trek Generations, translated (by tattooist or by canvas) into Klingon. In the film, the line is spoken by actor Malcolm McDowell, and it’s the refrain from mid-century US poet Delmore Schwartz’s Calmly We Walk through This April’s Day

Calmly we walk through this April’s day,   

Metropolitan poetry here and there,   

In the park sit pauper and rentier,   

The screaming children, the motor-car   

Fugitive about us, running away,   

Between the worker and the millionaire   

Number provides all distances,   

It is Nineteen Thirty-Seven now,   

Many great dears are taken away,   

What will become of you and me

(This is the school in which we learn …)   

Besides the photo and the memory?

(… that time is the fire in which we burn.)

[cont., on the title link above.]

Poetry onboard the Enterprise? Why not. It reminds me of the joke in Nicholson Baker’s 2009 The Anthologist, pointing out how much improved PBS’s Ozymandias is if you imagine that the traveller from an antique land is Captain James T Kirk: 

“Captain’s Log, star date 1818.1. Two vast and trunkless legs of stone stand in the desert…”

Speaking of re-attributing poems, Edward Thomas’ 1917 Adlestrop is quite good if you imagine it spoken by the hero of Lee Child’s Reacher novels: “The steam hissed. Someone cleared his throat. / No one left and no one came / On the bare platform. What I said / Was nothing – only the name”.