The answer, I fear,
is both "Yes," and, "No."
Clark was indeed supra-
heroic, but it didn't go
quite as planned (see infra
(that's Latin for "below")).
The foe retreated, yes,
but at what consequence?
Answers to this:
One. (Good) --
Forty-five years hence
on 9 July 1988, a Saturday,
a reporter for the Associated Press
will not write that any survivor
of a "Smallville Storm of '34" said,
"All we could do was just sit
in our dusty chairs and gaze
at each other through the fog
that filled the room and watch
the fog settle slowly and silently,
Nor quote another describing,
"(O)ur faces... as dirty
as if we had rolled in the dirt;
our hair... gray and stiff,
and we ground dirt between our teeth."
He won't write so in the reality
of this my epic because its people
are spared such torments, mostly.
No storm removes "300 million tons
of soil" this day, nor leaves "a film
on the President's desk in Washington,
on store shelves in New York City,
and on ships 500 miles out" to sea.
No, it does not, though it strove to.
The mythic Midwest this poet gives you
has a champion.
Fictive reporter, forgive me.
Two. (O.K.) --
Lana and Ma are allied in the quest
to marry off our protagonist.
Tacit agreement was reached in conference
between them, held in a crypt
where Clark rushed his friends
(invisibly quick) when the storm hit.
They all woke flushed (super-speed trips
can knock the unacquainted out cold), but
were swiftly re-oriented by bold
martial sounds without. There was war
going on up there for sure.
John Ross was up first. He lit a match,
saw where they were and asked,
"How'd we get here?"
The Prof. wondered, "Where is here?,"
and Sally said, "Are we dead?"
Ralph Dibny answered. "Not dead," he said, "Just
underground. The stone reads:
'The George Small Family'." Pete
piped in, "We're in our founders' tomb?,"
Lana added the call, "Where's Clark!?," and
Sarah, who was asleep, groaned, "My womb."
"He's out there," Ralph said pointing up,
"Don't worry." An eerie stillness fell
at that. Lana would have gone after Clark,
but Ralph reminded her of Sarah.
Someone should stay by her side,
and venturing out would be futile.
"Hear that whir?," Pete whispered,
"What is it?" "Dust storm," said John,
"Bound to hit us sometime. Other counties
been buried; whole states."
Ma stirred. "Clark? Out there?," she said,
"We're safe." Only Ralph understood.
Sarah had faith. In hushed tones to Lana
-- I dreamt a dream I've been haunted by
before. In the dream, my brother-in-law
becomes an octopus and eats America.
But, this time the 'pus became
a cloud that swirled as it consumed.
The cloud hardened and became my womb.
I looked into it. It was empty.
(Sarah drilled her nails into Lana's shoulder
and drew the wincing girl closer.)
-- Give me grandchildren, child!
Join my boy in marital bliss,
have the baby that was denied me
from the joy of Pa's first kiss.
Will you promise?
Lana was baffled. Ma's delirious
ramble she summarily dismissed,
but, politely, she made the promise.
In that instant, outside fell silent,
of a sudden, prompting the comment,
"Someone should check," on the Prof.ís part.
(He, of course, would not.)
but got no chance to perform, as...
... The blast that downed the doors
sounded a call like "DOOM!"
It was as if the very storm
had battered into the room.
From without a shaft of light
shone far too bright
and framed a mighty form,
face obscured to their sight,
and all his raiment torn.
The figure fell down the flight,
the stairs Pete would have climbed,
and on the landing where he might
have lately reconnoitered,
young Ross heard Lana cry.
She caught the tumbler;
Clark was a wearied sight.
It's like that, for a warrior,
even after a winning fight.
Three. (Bad (?)) --
Clark got to rummage through
wreckage left lying around
the Kent home
after the wind sacked it and was thrown
into orbit. The artifacts he found
would form quite a catalog.
It would include:
loose nails, lumber shards
and bits of brick,
things which, with labor --
equity called sweat --
go into house-making; photos in cracked
frames (the dust coats them thick,
so the pictures can't be seen);
his old crib that he once kicked
to pieces, but Eben fixed; a sheet
with two holes cut in it; and blankets
red and blue. He'd forgotten all about
these last two. Must be indestructible,
given all they've been through
since the fourth canto.
As it happens, they are.
Clark must learn to sew.