In 1942 author Vladimir Nabokov submitted a poem to the New Yorker which imagines Superman’s grief at his inability to father children with Lois Lane. The poem was rejected and has only now been published, nearly 80 years later.
With Superman’s popularity rising since his first appearance a few years earlier in 1938, the Russian writer penned a poem titled “The Man of To-morrow’s Lament”.
The poem, written from Superman’s perspective, sees the super-strong alien mourning the fact that the love of his life would be too frail to bear him a child.
Superman walks though the city park with Lois Lane in his bespectacled persona “otherwise, / when I caress her with my super-eyes, / her lungs and liver are too plainly seen / throbbing”. The Man of Steel goes on to express how, even though he is in love, “marriage would be murder on my part” because his euphemistic “blast of love” could kill his would-be wife. He explains that even if her “fragile frame” survived, “What monstrous babe, knocking the surgeon down, / would waddle out into the awestruck town?”
The poem was rejected by the New Yorker’s poetry editor Charles Pearce who told Nabokov that “most of us appear to feel that many of our readers wouldn’t quite get it”