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Who wrote the rather clever poems for the script of "Schisms"?

(Title and start unknown)

...
Then we sat on the sand for some time and observed
How the oceans that cover the world were perturbed
By the tides from the orbiting moon overhead
'How relaxing the sound of the waves is,' you said.
I began to expound upon tidal effects
When you asked me to stop, looking somewhat perplexed.
So I did not explain why the sunset turns red
And we watched the occurrence, in silence, instead.

"Ode to Spot"

Felis catus is your taxonomic nomenclature.
An endothermic quadruped, carnivorous by nature.
Your visual, olfactory, and auditory senses
Contribute to your hunting skill and natural defences.
I find myself intrigued by your subvocal oscillations.
A singular development of cat communications
That obviates your basic hedonistic predilection,
For a rhythmic stroking of your fur to demonstrate affection.
A tail is quite essential for your acrobatic talents.
You would not be so agile if you lacked its counterbalance.
And when not being utilised to aid in locomotion
It often serves to illustrate the state of your emotions.
Oh, Spot, the complex levels of behaviour you display
Connote a fairly well developed cognitive array.
And though you are not sentient, Spot, and do not comprehend
I nonetheless consider you a true and valued friend.

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  • @Richard Thanks, that also addresses the misuse of "obviate". – Oliphaunt - reinstate Monica Jul 30 '15 at 13:11
  • The poem was written by Clay Dale, I am 99% sure, as I met him online once in 2003 and that is what he told me. I am not sure it was Clay Dale but the character told me he wrote the poem, told me he was a graphics effort artist, and told me that Braga asked him to do it. Even recited the poem to me. I am a trek nut so this was incredibly awesome. – alba Oct 3 '18 at 22:40
  • @alba Which of the two poems are you referring to? – Null Oct 4 '18 at 5:40
23

"Ode to Spot"

There is an unsupported remark in the Wikipedia article on Data indicating that visual effects artist Clay Dale had written "Ode to Spot".

However, according to this Q & A session with Brent Spiner, "Ode to Spot" was most likely written by Brannon Braga, a Star Trek producer and the writer of the episode "Schisms" in which it first appeared (and also the episode "A Fistful of Data", where the poem appeared again).

AUDIENCE MEMBER: Hi, Brent, do you still remember "Ode to Spot"?

SPINER: What, "Ode to Spot"? Um, Felus cattus is your taxonomic — wait — nomenclature, an endothermic quadruped, carniverous by nature. Go ahead (to the audience). You know what, I knew it by heart once. Um, it was a great poem actually. I think, er, I think Brannon Braga wrote that poem. Brannon's a wonderful writer really, and he's such a perverse human being and the stuff that he comes up with is always interesting. I really, really like working with Brannon. He wrote "Ode to Spot" which is, I think, Pulitzer Prize stuff. Yuh?

(Note: the heading of the web page for the Q & A session says "1977" when it should say "1997".)

"A Sunset Bloom"

According to the Memory Alpha article on anapestic tetrameter, the title of the poem beginning with

Then we sat on the sand for some time and observed...

is "A Sunset Bloom". (Anapestic tetrameter is the meter that Data used for the poem.)

Since this poem premiered in the same episode as "Ode to Spot", it would seem reasonable that Braga wrote it as well.


Update

I asked Brannon Braga directly if he wrote them:

Hi Brannon, quick question: did you write both of Data's poems in "Schisms"? They are very impressive!

He responded with:

"ODE TO SPOT" is one of my favorite Data scenes.

(Original Tweets)

While he didn't explicitly confirm or deny that he wrote the poems, I would imagine that if he didn't write them, he would have said so. Further still, my question and his response to it prompted another user to ask him:

Did you write the Life Forms song too in Generations?

He responded with:

Lyrics yes but Brent Spiner gave it the tune.

(Original Tweets)

Considering this conversation as a whole, and Braga's response of "yes" to "Did you write the Life Forms song too", I take this as confirming that he wrote the two poems and the "Life Forms" song.

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    @Richard : Brent Spiner probably gave the poem in 1977 to a younger Braga, reassuring himself, "How do I know he didn't write the bloody thing?" – Praxis Jul 29 '15 at 19:46
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    @ThePopMachine : Surely reaching out to an actual Star Trek writer warrants acceptance, right?? ;-) – Praxis Aug 11 '15 at 4:08
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    @ThePopMachine : I'm going to write my own poem about the joy that future-me will experience when you accept this answer. ;-) – Praxis Aug 18 '15 at 20:06
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    To demonstrate your grand beneficence, bestow upon Praxis, your munificence. His reputation, bulges effulgent, his desire, your acceptance, indulgent. – Valorum Aug 18 '15 at 20:16
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    @Richard : Or you will write the poem, because that was awesome. – Praxis Aug 18 '15 at 20:45

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