His name was Mr. Mudd
and he was the strongest man I ever met.
He had three children -two boys and a girl-
and an ailing wife, whose face was white as milk.
They lived in a small frame house
among a grove of poplar trees,
across the big field in front of our place,
out near the state highway.
Today, Mr. Mudd had come to see the Beast
squatting on its haunches in our field
of young corn sprouts.
In rusting chrome on the red torso of the monster
was its name, McCormick Farmall
Its rear wheels,
covered with reptilian-like steel spikes,
were buried in trenches it had clawed
two days before, following a sudden rain.
Water from the field had leached into the trenches
forming two long water filled troughs
into which the bottom of the wheels had vanished.
Atop the red Behemoth, my father poked, prodded,
and yanked at various levers and cables
unit the Creature came alive.
Snorting and belching
the Fiend vomited fire and brimstone
from its exhaust into the cool morning air.
Teasing the Brute with gas and clutch,
my father made it lurch
back and forth in the sodden trenches
spewing filthy fountains
of water and mud,
but in spite of its expended rage,
the Monster could not escape its own grave.
That is when Mr. Mudd moved in behind the Beast.
Placing his soft hands against the metallic skin
he leaned against the Giant
and syncopated its movements.
His bandy legs bowed with mammoth effort.
His pale arms strained.
His small feet sank into the mud.
As the churning wheels heaved from the trenches
water, mud, and finally dry rock and dirt
the Monster sprang from its prison
and sat quivering atop the wet surface of the field.
Amid the victory shouts, Mr. Mudd slapped his bony chest and a called out over the noise, “Glad I could help.”
He sauntered across the field toward the poplar grove.
He was David dragging the head of Goliath;
He was Ulysses besmeared with the blood of the suitors;
He was the strongest man I ever met.