Having exhausted its day's worth
the sun sets and dusk reigns,
bringing a certain crispness to the air.
It chills his wild dark hair
as, in Clark's innermost ear
a voice that names him "heir"
whispers, riding the wind
through swaying stalks.
Out amongst them he walks,
the voice taking him to a spot
near a pond where he is oft wont
to play. Here, between the hillocks
by the road to town, where it crosses
the edge of the Kent property
and divides it from John Ross's,
Kal-El will become properly
acquainted (he will think) with a ghost.
A green, unearthly film coats
the pond's still, algae-free waters.
These swirl, make a mockery
of the Milky Way Galaxy
then, from this fakery's spiral core
it upward bloats, the hoary host,
capturing Clark's stare as it towers
over the Prairie, long white locks
flowing out and hanging down across
a stylized `S' emblazoned
on its nude ectoplasmic chest.
Emitting no sound, its mouth moves.
Red suns flare up in front of its eyes,
then these spheres pop and the tension stops
and Clark finds himself suddenly...aware.
A flood of blue blood blazes in his veins,
transmutes the Farmboy back into the son
whose father's pride he'd surely have won
had he not been torn from the world
to which he was rightly born. He kneels.
Assuming he knows the image,
he presumes to speak its native meter:
-- Father? Father, here I am! Teach me!
You were a prophet, no? Preacher
of doom, that dreary word? Yes!
Your voice resonates in my soul
as it rocks the Council halls
and the elders listen
to your petition,
but laugh in your face.
They condemn themselves,
lying down in disgrace,
and make me last of my race
as they're crushed by crumbling walls.
Such was your tomb, and mother's too,
and I can view, in this vision of night,
through tears that drown more ready sight,
the picture of shifting plates in upheaval:
the very ground revolts
and grinds your bones to dust.
This end, I trust, was Fate's decree
to all our folk, save I; for,
before you gave your final cry
you put me in a rocket ship
and sent me on a one way trip
far from your dying world.
You hurled me to this place
across vast expanses of space
and have watched me genuflect
at an altar that is surely
tainted in your all-seeing eyes.
My speech falters, but you must realize
that whence I came was a mystery
to me, prior to this revelation.
I have no cause for guilt --
I have but knelt to the spirits
nearest my waking heart,
as taught in rituals practiced
by forbears more intimate
than you have been, my liege.
Now this rude awakening -- I see it
so, as the initial exhilaration
fades -- signals the start of a siege.
Shade falls. A pall of ignorance is cast
where you would have shown light; I am thrust
into shadow, knowing not to which quarter
my loyalty should be granted.
So I'll keep to old appearances
until change is wrought by circumstance.
No decision tonight, father -- forgive me.
Division's seed is sown in my heart
and I fear that, unless you disown me,
and so usurp my choice,
we will be forced, presently, to part.
The night sky -- alive with emerald fires
that writhe, suggesting the outline
of his long deceased sire --
rumbles as Clark's declaration,
stated in an elevation
by spectral influence brought, ends.
Magical lightning flashes, descends
from the heavens to the pool below
to hold Clark in its electric arms.
A breeze rises. He wades into the reeds,
tumbles into depths all a'sparkling,
alive with an ethereal energy
that supplants his need for air and tends
his thoughts toward tales told by Kryptonians
from time immemorial, legends
of heroes bold, deeds of greatness,
and quests for glory, stories he will hold
in deepest memory. Thus he is schooled
in the grand tradition, made to serve
a dynasty of rulers felled
and linked to the vitality
of dead generations that meld
into him and live again
by, through, and in him.
As this ancestral chorus chants
the most triumphal hymns
in Krypton's collective mind,
the rechristened Kal can't help but find
the houses of El and Kent
alike in dignity,
with each its deference to impart him.
But, his heart's present master won't condone
the difference -- one course alone
he insists his son must take.
This answer to his challenge causes
Clark to flail in the nascent lake,
striving after wisps of green,
the tenuous tendons that lend
"Jor-El's" shade its mystic shape.
They slip through his fingers --
one supposed father
dissipates into morning mists
while another, more solid, nears.
Usually more stolid, Eben Kent
has grown dour through many hours
of search. His hopes sink further
as he rushes forward
and the image underwater clears,
appearing to confirm his worst fear --
that his charge has drowned.
But, then, at the border of the pond,
he is by some dark power
thrown down, made to cower
in the presence of an otherworldly
scourge strong enough to bend
trees which long have kept the wind
from clearing men off the Prairie,
one able to mold a twister of itself
and blast the water hole,
casting its captive up,
with all the mud and muck,
into clear skies.
Clark twirls in its eye
as the shiny funnel
of scheming, sentient steam
teases Eben by licking the tips
of his bare toes as it wryly shows him
glimpses of the boy's calm smile,
a radiant contrast
to the chaos afoot in the land.
Frozen atop a hillock,
his forced stillness mocked
by the wily storm,
Eben wrings his hands,
feeling anguish born
in sleepless worry,
until the torrent stops, suddenly,
and scurries away, as if in fright,
and Clark falls like a feather
and alights into his waiting arms.
The child's valor abates
as the shimmering vapors evaporate;
he clings, and cries.
Pa tries to give comfort,
tenderly gazing into veined,
weary little eyes,
orbs which, though once innocent,
are now by torment tainted.
Then, in seeming reply
to Pa's concern,
their blue lenses burn
and spit forth ruby beams
that singe his cheeks. He screams,
spills Clark into the mire,
and runs home holding his face,
trying to contain the pain of fire.
Encrusted in filth, Clark sits.
Memory of the faith
entrusted to him of late
fades, along with the golden halo
whose glow had aided his descent.
He whimpers in renewed ignorance,
and at his dual loss,
for he has dismissed the old troops
who passed in review
and unwittingly spurned
the man who weaned him too.
Later mother will clean him.
As for father and son --
neither speaks to the other
for a long time to come.