MCCANN: Honoring National Poetry Month with some Winchester poets

Published 10:24 am Friday, April 24, 2020

In honor of National Poetry Month, here are poems by two local poets: Marie Parsons  and John Maruskin.

Parsons is author of “Rearview Mirror,” a traditional rhyming poem which deals with both the past and the present in light of the coronavirus.

Parsons  is a retired professor of English who lives in Winchester.

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Rearview Mirror

Some believe it’s very clear,

Our country needs no rearview mirror,


They opine,

Is a colossal waste of time,

A great big waste

And not a cure

For the sickness we endure.

Just like Lot’s wife,

They do believe,

If they look back, they’ll end like she, 

A salty pillar by the sea,

A salty pillar just like she,

A salty pillar by the sea.

They grant the value, to be sure,

Of windshields,

Not of rearview mirrors.

I don’t know,

But I’ll just bet,

They’ve never been rear-ended yet.


“The Mystery of the Taoist on the Train” by John Maruskin

“The solution of the problem of life is seen in the vanishing of the problem.”  Wittgenstein


Last night I had this dream:

A train travels the Sussex countryside.

Approaching a station like a barrow

the track bifurcates dendritically and

two men stand, silhouettes.  One

leans on an opened, blue umbrella;

the other, with his hands above his head,

waves.  To whom?  The clouds.

Now, in a Pullman coach

Herr Kafka plays Go with a Taoist

priest who carries a bonsai.  “This

bonsai,” the Taoist says, “is King Wen’s

warp of time, pinched and wrapped

inside 64 Hinoki sticks.  Would

Herr Kafka care to hold it?”

Instead, Kafka sets the last black game stone;

so, the board’s pattern replicates

the stones beneath the bonsai, a hillside herd

of Holsteins, and a flock of jackdaws

flapping by.

One bird dives through the Pullman window

onto a bonsai branch that bends to snap.  Yet,

before it does the jackdaw springs off

leaving the last set game stone gray guano drenched.

Herr Kafka, whistling, inverts it.

So, the pattern appears unchanged.

But, Watson, bird-witted, now, I know

warp, pinch, or invert our patterns as we will

human intention and skill have merely marginal

connections to the perfection of the natural world,

which, despite all our plotting, creates quite another story.

It is a great relief to no longer have to be implacable.

Watson, I do believe


Write Local

Maruskin is adult services librarian at the Clark County Public Library, and most Friday mornings leads a group of local writers called Write Local.

The group meets at the Clark County Public Library to read and discuss their efforts to write short stories, flash fiction, essays, novels and poetry.

Of course, the safe-at-home requirements attendant with the coronavirus have made that impossible for the last few weeks.

Beginning today, the Write Local group, which is open to anyone, will be going online. That meeting will require that participants sign up in advance so they can be invited to link to the meeting. The meeting is still open to all — the group just needs to know to invite you.

For information about Write Local and to participate in Zoom meetings, email Maruskin at

Bill McCann is a playwright, poet, flash fiction writer and teacher who writes about arts events and personalities. He can be reached at