BOOK ONE: ARRIVAL
Bulkheads and a dome defend precious cargoes
from the frigid emptiness without;
he is warm, rolling in soft covers,
wafting on the waves of a star-sea.
Crystals humming statistics,
flashing images of home
(the old one and the one nearing),
vibrate their colorful lessons
to him; they sing him the song
of this his journey even on
its last leg. His smile
shows him ignorant of loss --
that he is a careening shard
from a shattered looking glass,
shadow of a great people cast
long upon the galaxy, fragile
and unaware of its course.
Alas, alack; is the son lost?
Worry not; the father planned well.
The noble line of El,
whose women lived on grace's peak,
whose men reigned, scientists and kings,
over a cold and rigid, unsavable race,
has ended, but will shed its grace
upon a hill in wind swept Kansas.
The universe, thus, is womb,
and the solar wind will midwife
the approaching birth. Meanwhile,
Krypton's tribute to the Americans --
still Kal-El ("Star Child"); soon earth's son --
is rocked to sleep by the subliminal
school-song of pulsating reds and blues.
This is good -- that he may doze through
the shock of his Arrival.
How violently he debuts
over isle-like homesteads
floating on flatness draped
in gold and guarded from night
by inverted cloud-mountains,
white battlements all but ready
to burst with the morning's gray rain.
How swiftly that defensive line
parts before this shape that came
through the curves of time
to orbit the earth tonight,
this gleaming silver bullet
before which fertile humus --
torn, anguished -- overturns,
uplifts, bleeds forth damp
and black and worm-full
as the burning wreckage
of an alien heritage
ploughs speedily, yet silently through.
This wheat wrapped Prairie --
mostly barren in Native days,
purged by blood of warring brethren
flooded over her by Brown
and other ravers, strapped down
under rail tracks laid
by heartless Robber Barons,
nurtured by kin of ancient Norsemen who,
abandoned here en route West, dug deep into
the dirt and ice and made abodes in soil
they later toiled with to make their land,
the continent's heart, garden to a Grand
-- cradles now a boy who could be king.
Heated metal cracks open, exposing
him to the sky, and to the great ring,
the explosion of sound that ripples down
his rocket's trail and passes over.
So is he heralded: By sound waves
crashing against a homestead-island's shore,
cascading window-droplets inward,
sprinkling them on the house's floor.
This the start of modern heroic lore:
Red iron cools to its natural blue,
and, as drizzle debuts in the sky,
an old man opens an oaken door
and hears a baby cry.