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       A Verse Narrative by Michael E. Mautner



    In America's darkest hour
    they were born.
    Decades later, from affluence's
    cold and lonely tower
    I sought them, the heroes of old
    as they struggled to survive
    a world of scorn.  I yearned
    for Good Fight's return,
    remembering when the Depression
    struck Freedom's home
    and children, starved near to the bone
    cowered, afraid, sans power
    in the Land of the Brave.
    Visiting the newsstand homes
    of new heroic tomes
    such youth sought for sooth
    in Superman's poetic truth.
    Red, blue and yellow clad he flew:
    He was the immigrant lad whom all knew
    could (if only True!) restore light
    to the once shining City on the Hill.
    He, in grace and might, would scarce ignore
    the fascist horde descending,
    the home grown foes pretending
    to work the People's will.
    His was the Good Fight,
    he and his brethren the new knights
    of the Metropolis.
    In my country's bleakest time
    they were born.
    When we surrendered,
    choosing meekest line,
    it was the heroes for whom
    we truly pined;
    but I was not forlorn
    for always they were mine:
    Ever loyal, I toiled after them
    ending my search, but momentarily,
    at two shop walls awash in
    four-color splendor, where history's
    shimmering mysteries hung for sale
    to the young man, the big spender.
    At home, in my own Fortress of Solitude,
    I peeled tape from plastic bags,
    preventing sneaky snags
    set to tear at my precious wares.
    I turned a glinting cover to discover...
    ...pages still white, not yellowed by the years?!
    Comics' condition maintained over decades
    hidden away beneath piles of old clothes
    in trunks that, stacked in attic corners,
    sat as generations passed --
    The adventurers of former days,
    rediscovered at last!
    I am Columbus, Vespucci, Da Gama,
    a voyager across the years,
    sailing in pulp-and-ink ships
    to days when hero-trips
    allayed fears of bread lines,
    Nazi mines, dangers of all kinds:
    The time when right was right,
    when the Good War
    was the Good Fight.
    Today, as I read and write,
    those days come into sight,
    the Good Fight, to free Freedom's light
    approaches once more.
    Again it takes a hero's form --
    That lingering, steadfast
    fighter from the Romantic age
    who to a despairing nation came
    furious battle to wage
    in Truth and Justice's name!
    Join me now in welcoming him.

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