Modern Superman

I finally got around to writing a poem last month that I’d been meaning to write since last fall in a poetry project on CleanPlace. The prompt Nia gave us one week was the following: “Write a poem that responds to a song. Do not quote the song! Write about how YOU respond to the song.”

I’ve been thinking lately about heroes in modern literature and television and the differences and similarities between our heroes and epic heroes sung about in ballads like in medieval and ancient times, such as Beowulf or King Arthur. So, partly because of that, I’m responding to “Superman’s Song” by a Canadian band called Crash Test Dummies.

The song’s lyrics are available online, but I’ll post them below as well. It aired in the pilot episode of Due South in the late ’90s – a show I loved as a kid and I still love to watch it on DVD now. In the episode, the song is used to draw the parallel between comic-book action heros and Benton Fraser, a modern-day Canadian Mountie from the Territories living in downtown Chicago. There is a YouTube clip of the where you can hear the song as it appeared in that episode over here. My poem is posted just below the song lyrics.

Superman’s Song

Tarzan wasn’t a ladies’ man.
He’d just come along and scoop ’em up under his arm like that,
Quick as a cat in the jungle.
But Clark Kent, now there was a real gent.
He would not be caught sittin’ around in no junglescape,
Dumb as an ape doing nothing.
Superman never made any money
For saving the world from Solomon Grundy,
And sometimes I despair the world will never see another man like him.

Hey Bob, Supe had a straight job.
Even though he could have smashed through any bank in the United States,He had the strength, but he would not.
Folks said his family were all dead.
Planet crumbled but Superman, he forced himself to carry on.
Forget Krypton and keep going.
Superman never made any money
For saving the world from Solomon Grundy,

And sometimes I despair the world will never see another man like him.
Tarzan was king of the jungle and lord over all the apes.
But he could hardly string together four words: “I Tarzan, you Jane.”

Sometimes when Supe was stopping crimes,
I’ll bet that he was tempted to just quit and turn his back on man,
Join Tarzan in the forest.
But he stayed in the city,
Kept on changing clothes in dirty old phonebooths ’til his work was through,
And nothing to do but go on home.

Superman never made any money
For saving the world from Solomon Grundy,
And sometimes I despair the world will never see another man like him–
And sometimes I despair the world will never see another man like him.

Song lyrics ©1991 by Crash Test Dummies

My poem:

Modern Supermen

Citizens gaze up into the misty blue,
searching for a ripple of red cape.
Yet the sky is silent and colorless.
No theme blares for a hero.
Below, one man still patrols the street in scarlet.
One man guides weathered old women
across the blaring, smoggy intersections.
One red spot in a sea of gray suits—
a flash of crimson in the sky.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s