“Very nice, Mr. Ears” – poetry in Star Trek can mean trouble
The connection between poetry and psychic powers persisted in Star Trek: The Original Series.
In the first season’s “Charlie X,” Charlie (Robert Walker, Jr.) makes Mr. Spock recite three snatches of poetry—one of the many ways the troubled and terrifyingly powerful teen asserts his control over the Enterprise and its crew.
Spock is first forced to declaim the first two lines of “The Tyger” from William Blake’s Songs of Innocence and of Experience: Shewing the Two Contrary States of the Human Soul (1794). Later, he croaks the first line of “The Raven” by Edgar Allan Poe (1845).
In between, Spock spits out this quick, Sol system-themed couplet: “Saturn rings around my head / Down a road that’s Martian red.” Leonard Nimoy’s choice to sharply turn his head and glare at Charlie as the final word is forced from him is dramatic and effective.
Whether this text is some 23rd-century nursery rhyme or an Ogden Nash-like nonsense poem, we don’t know. Written for the episode, the couplet was, in the final draft script, a quatrain (also per Memory Alpha):
"Saturn’s rings upon my finger Vulcan’s helmet on my head. Jupiter’s chariot ‘neath my feet Down the road that’s Martian red."
I like the longer version for its mythological associations. But Charlie’s not about letting us have nice things!
In the third season’s “Plato’s Stepchildren,” we hear even more psychically induced poetry.
The sadistic Platonians not only force Spock to sing “Maiden Wine”—written by Nimoy and included on his 1968 album The Touch of Leonard Nimoy—but also get a command performance of some doggerel and dance from Spock and Kirk.
Their little ditty isn’t from Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass (1871), but sounds like it could be. Tweedledum and Tweedledee are characters in the book, and Kirk and Spock’s words include some wonderfully weird nonsense from its “Jabberwocky” poem.