Friday, October 30, 2009

What I Choose To Remind You: Sarah Kent, Clark, Superman ". . .with / dazzled flourishes. . ."

I was very excited the day, a few years back, I saw a DVD of The Adventures of Superman, the t.v. show from the 1950s, starring George Reeves.

Watching the show was less exciting than anticipating same but I was struck by the episode's concern with threats of bombs, and nuclear fission fear.  It makes sense, of course, but there it was, the country's anxiety on the screen.

I was also struck with the backstory, mainly Clark's mom, Sarah Kent. Sarah? I was so proud! But also not sure they got it right and so did a little research and discovered her name was Martha in the comic book. Why the change, I don't know, but my identification with her, and my overidentification and my great affection for that series, our old black-and-white t.v., for Jimmy and Lois and, well, everyone, got me thinking.

Remember, also, I went to a Protestant Sunday School where we read the Bible.   I know a few things oldey, like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who were thrown into a fiery furnace in the book of Daniel. King Nebuchadnezzar was the bad guy (he's not mentioned below).  If you don't know Bible stories I suggest reading them as they can be terrific.  If you don't know our shared mythology, Clark Kent, the planet Krypton, Kryptonite, et al., I insist you hit the links.  Meantime.

What I Choose to Remind You

Is that I, Sarah Kent, am
Earthmother of Superman,
rocketed to our planet
for safekeeping when
his homeland imploded,
which is what the universe
did prior to becoming
the universe, and with
dazzled flourishes of
an illuminated manuscript
illuminated really fast.
Like Moses bobbling in
sun-gold rushes, Clark was
a foundling, and like Shadrach
Meshach and Abednego
survived fires unscathed,
Clark’s of impact with
this planet–more than many
I’ve seen do. I raised him
to be respectful and cheerful
kind in an American way.
I am an American Sarah
embracing the visitation
with one joy-spilled tear
and the other Vidalia-sliced
for the stew. I didn’t laugh
but taught my son his civic duty
of salvation, which his new world
seems to need with every turn.

Sarah Sarai, pub. in Juice: A Journal of the Ordinary, 2008, and in The Future Is Happy, avail. from Small Press Distribution.

The artist is Gustave Doré.

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