|Title: Higher Than the Azure Sky
Author: Farfalla the Butterfly-Kitten
Email: blueberrysnail at yahoo dot com
Archived at ASCEM, The All-Ages Kirk/Spock Archive, WWOMB, and by nice people who ask first.
Characters are property of Paramount, and the awful doggerel is mine. No profit but my smiles and your feedback
Summary: Bad love poetry and phytochemistry are among the topics of Kirk and Spock's leisure-hour conversation
Higher Than the Azure Sky
I know when I behold my dove,
As truthful as the sky is blue,
Or grass is green, regard for you
Is higher than that azure sky
No grass is greener than your eye.
Kirk closed the book. "A bit shorter than the Frost, but it's been a--long day." He rubbed his temple for emphasis.
Spock regarded the book from his perch on the bed with detached disapproval. "It is merely verse and simile," he commented.
"But there's something beautiful about that simplicity, Spock," Kirk admonished him gently. "'No grass--is greener than your eye,'" he repeated. "The poem takes unquestionable truths, like the color of the grass, and uses that certainty to describe the depths of the speaker's affection."
"The simile is illogical," Spock countered. "Love, as humans call it, is a form of mental intimacy with another living being. The green color of plants or the blue of the Earth sky bears no relation to my feelings for you."
"Spock, what's gotten into you?" Kirk murmured, a little put off. "We read poetry every night, but you've never had this kind of problem with 'illogical' human metaphor."
"These were similes, Captain. A metaphor assumes the object being described is the same as what is is compared to, whereas a sim--"
Kirk held up his hand. "Sorry, I misspoke. But my point is that you never cared about this before. Practically every poem we've ever *read* was rich in imagery of some kind or another."
"That is true, but in this case I find I do not agree with the choice of analogy."
"Because love has nothing to do with plants?" Kirk asked, prodding harder as he put the book back on his bookshelf.
"Jim, that was not my meaning." Spock climbed off the bed and floated to his side, speaking softly. "The poem you shared tonight referred to the grass being green as an undeniable fact, and then compared that factuality to the certainty of love. I find this illogical because I do not consider the greenness of plants to be undeniable."
Kirk turned around to face him, brow furrowed. "What?"
"The color of plants, or anything else, for that matter, is dependant on the wavelength of visible light they are incapable of absorbing. Whatever is not absorbed is reflected. For example, my shirt--"
"--is blue because it reflects blue light and absorbs everything else. Yes, I know that. So? Plants reflect green light because they absorb everything else."
"The plants you are familiar with on Earth reflect green light because they have evolved so that their dominant pigment, chlorophyll, is that which reflects light at wavelengths of 645 and 663 nanometers."
"I'm guessing that's green."
"Correct, Captain. The plants appear green because they reflect green light and absorb the remainder of the spectrum. But plants from other worlds have evolved other dominant pigmentary systems."
"What do you mean?"
"When winter approaches on your home planet, the chlorophyll levels in the leaves drops, leaving the subordinate pigments displayed. Anthocyanin, for example, is responsible for red and purple coloration, and carotenes produce orange."
"Fall coloring is one of the most beautiful things about a temperate climate," smiled Jim nostalgically. "I remember going down to North Carolina one October to visit cousins. I never forgot those trees."
"On other words, entire populations of plants have evolved using, for example, anthocyanin as their dominant pigment. The forests on Risa are burgundy."
"Oh yeah? What were *you* doing on Risa?" Kirk smirked.
"Studying plant pigments," Spock answered without batting an eyelash. "There are many worlds under Federation jurisdiction whose foliage is colored by some pigment other than chlorophyll, and whose plants are definitely ~not~ green."
"So, Spock, what you're saying is..."
"I am saying that, logically, professing devotion with the same certainty that a plant will be green gives me no reassurance at all. As a Vulcan, I must weigh the science of the matter. I cannot help it."
"But you know that's not what the author intended," Kirk protested, smiling with amusement.
"Might I suggest an alternate analogy?" said Spock, drawing nearer. "I would say to you, Jim, that my regard for you is as richly colored as the entire spectrum of phytopigment diversity, and in your presence I absorb light just as they do."
And Kirk was speechless.