And Joy Returns To Mudville

(1888 – “But there is no Joy in Mudville – mighty Casey has struck out.”  Last line of “Casey at the Bat” by Ernest Lawrence Thayer)

‘Twas long ago in Mudville – one hundred years or more,

Two men on base and Casey there, about to change the score.

High hopes are often crushed they say, of this there is no doubt.

All America knows of Mudville, where – Mighty Casey did strike out.

First the Railroad, then the Shoes, and so a village grew.

A good place in a simple town – American through and through.

But years passed on and roads decayed, sidewalks had gone to seed.

Two wars and more had stressed the place – Mudville was in serious need.

Who cares today of that fateful game, when Casey failed the fans?

The folks moved on to a brighter day and set new village plans.

And so today the engines roar and the bucket loaders bang.

The Mudville streets are all dug up, on that our new hopes hang.

John Henry swung his hammer and machines were big and bold.

In Mudville workers did the same and powered away the old.

Mighty Casey struck out big time; Mudville entered baseball lore,

But now with streets and sidewalks new, Mudville has evened the score!

Walter McClennen – Writing from Mudville, while watching men and women and machines fixing our streets.

Note: Although he grew up in Worcester, Ernest Lawrence Thayer knew Holliston well due to his extended family owning the mill by the Eight Arch Bridge.  Some can try to debate if our Mudville is the “Mudville” of the poem, but that may miss the point.  A great and humorous poem about baseball in its infancy (and about the fall of the “Mighty Casey”) has resonated through the land for more than 130 years.  The full text of the poem can be found at “Casey at the Bat – Poetry Foundation.”

Walter McClennen


  1. Peter & Jeanne Grandy on November 1, 2021 at 8:39 am

    Beautiful, Walter!

    • Bradford Lingham on November 8, 2021 at 9:10 am

      You have a gift!
      This made my day.

  2. Nancy Karis on November 3, 2021 at 9:43 am

    Kudos to Walter McClellan, the poet among us, for a clever and pertinent update of Thayer’s poem.

  3. Absecana McClennen on November 5, 2021 at 9:31 pm

    Outstanding. The Poet Laureate of Mudville strikes!

  4. Christina Lingham on November 7, 2021 at 3:08 pm

    Well done, Walter. What a beautiful rendition to the well loved poem and so timely. Very clever.

  5. Carol Scott Dooling on November 9, 2021 at 9:47 pm