The Mark Hastings – Episode #5: “First Thoughts”

In this episode Mark talks about “first thoughts” – meaning the first thing that instantly comes to mind when we are asked a particular question, such as: what is your favourite film? What is your favourite book? And Mark talks about why it is also important to sometimes revisit certain things because as we live our lives our perspective on certain things can change in unforeseen ways.

My Poem “The Burning Bulb”

This is what I remember...
this is how it used to be...
this is what I and many others
like me have been unable
to do for almost a year...
this is how I have spent
so many mornings as a writer, as a poet,
and as an observer of human nature:
sitting in my favourite café,
as the bells of a nearby clock ring out,
and feel like I am where and when
I need to be to take out my notebook
and write some new poetry.

It hasn't been the same experience,
it hasn't been the same magic -
even though I have not stopped
writing, nor creating new things,
over the last twelve months
I, like everybody, has had to adapt to living
in a world divided in so many ways...
even though I have not been
lacking in ideas, inspiration, drive,
nor passion to let my poetic side express itself -
now that I am back, sitting inside
and enjoying the ambience and the atmosphere
around me that I know so well,
which for years has fuelled my creativity,
I honestly feel as if I am able to spread
the wings of my intrinsically
poetic and artistic spirit.

I have learned over the years
to embrace every moment,
because things can very easily
be put on pause, beyond our control,
or can even be brought to an abrupt end -
which is why I often dwell upon memories
of where I have been, of what I have seen
and of what I have felt throughout my life...
I am someone who has always looked
to the distant horizon and to the future -
but when anybody goes through
a period of being within something,
or away from someone who matters to them,
everybody undoubtedly feels
this need to somehow go back,
to recapture and to relive all that to them
for so long has always felt like
a constant burning bulb of energizing
inspiration, light, and hope.

My Poem “Screenshot”

Life is a livestream without a pause button...
when something happens we can't commit
every detail of every moment to memory...
life sometimes feels like it is
in a state of fast-forward...
when someone scrolls through
the posts of someone else who appears
to be living the life that they have always
wanted sometimes people can feel envy -
however life is filled with more depth
of perspective and colour
than any resolution of screen
could ever display perfectly...
when a photograph is taken
a thousand words could be used to describe
what the two dimensions apparently show -
but to go beyond a static image
and dive into what preceeded it
and what came after it
you have to look to what appears
in the background that may not be
as easy to see, but take it from me
it is there that you will see a picture's true poetry...
there is no way yet to recall
what the first face that we saw
after we were born was,
nor is there yet a way to know
what the first sound that we heard was,
nor who the first voice that
we heard belonged to;
but, make no mistake, our entire life
of experiences are all saved within our brains -
the good, the bad, the tragic, and the funny -
and if at the end of everything
each of us do indeed see our entire life
flash before our eyes so fast
that every moment merges together
into a burst of bright light,
be sure to try and do what
people do every day when they see
something on their phone
that they think is worth capturing:
remember what you can, while you can,
and if necessary take a screenshot.


My Poem “Star Wars ’77”

I will never forget the epic music
and the iconic yellow text of the opening crawl
that first introduced me to the story
of these out of this world characters
who lived a long time in a galaxy far, far away…
I will never forget seeing the sight
of that Imperial Star-Destroyer
chasing down and firing at that
Rebel Alliance ship carrying Princess Leia…
I will never forget the fear that I felt
when I first saw the imposing Darth Vader…
I will never forget seeing the droids
R2-D2 and C3PO being jettisoned into space
and finding themselves on
the desert planet of Tatooine with
the blueprints of the "Death Star" super-weapon,
as well as a message for the "only hope"
of the Rebel Alliance - someone called "Obi-wan Kenobi"…
I will never forget seeing the iconic image
of Luke Skywalker looking to the horizon as the twin suns of his planet began to set…
I will never forget Luke Skywalker and C3PO
following R2-D2 into the desert
and being attacked by "Sand People"
and Obi-wan Kenobi having to come to their rescue…
I will never forget Luke Skywalker
first igniting his father's blue Lightsaber -
however unaware that his father, Anakin Skywalker,
who he thought was now dead
was still alive and was now
none other than the evil Darth Vader…
I will never forget Obi-wan Kenobi
explaining the nature of The Force to Luke Skywalker…
I will never forget seeing Obi-wan Kenobi
and Luke Skywalker arrive at the city of Mos Eisley
and be introduced to Han Solo and Chewbacca -
and then watch Han Solo shoot first
in a stand-off against a green alien named Greedo…
I will never forget the first time I saw
the Millennium Falcon freighter take off
and then be taken aboard the Death Star
not long after the super-weapon had destroyed
Princess Leia's homeworld of Alderaan…
I will never forget seeing Luke, Han,
and Chewbacca break Leia free of her cell
and then dive head-first into the Death Star's trash-compactor…
I will never forget seeing
the former master and the apprentice,
Jedi Master Obi-wan Kenobi
and Sith Dark Lord Darth Vader,
reunite and face-off against one another...
I will never forget being entranced
by Obi-wan and Darth Vader dueling
one another with their blue and red lightsabers…
I will never forget Luke Skywalker watching
Darth Vader strike down Obi-wan Kenobi -
not knowing that Obi-wan had learned how
to live on after death and become a "Force ghost"…
I will never forget seeing the Millennium Falcon
surrounded by Imperial Tie Fighters
and then jump into hyperspace
and eventually deliver the stolen plans for
the Death Star to the Rebel Alliance…
I will never forget Luke Skywalker
participating in the attack on the Death Star
and being assured by the voice of Obi-wan
that "The Force will be with you, always" -
just before Luke Skywalker delivers
the one in a million shot into the exhaust port
of the Death Star leading to its destruction...
I will never forget the ceremony
when Luke Skywalker, Han Solo -
but unfortunately not Chewbacca -
were given a medal by Princess Leia
for all that they did to destroy the Death Star…
Oh yes, I will never forget the first time
that I ever saw every moment
of George Lucas' revolutionary space-opera film
that changed cinema and the world forever:
I will never forget the first time I saw
the 1977 film that simply used to be called
"Star Wars".

My Poem “Be Who You Want To Be”

Everybody envisions that they are
the centre of their own universe...
when we are children we believe,
and we can come to expect,
that what we want we will always get...
everybody can imagine that there will
come a time when we will believe
that we have nothing more to learn;
however, things are not always as they seem,
things are not always as they
appear to be in our dreams -
because things change,
people come and people go,
life expands beyond the confines
of an imaginary frame,
people teach us who we are
in ways that only someone who is
an observer of us can expose...
over time the gift within each of us
calls out for someone to hear it,
to notice it, to identify it,
to give it a spotlight -
however, the bright spark present
within some people may only show itself
in a flash just long enough
to influence another person
into remembering and recalling
who they were, who they are
and who they will always be -
and if you who are reading this right now
then you know that you have the power
to be who you want to be.

My Poem “Grieve for Them”

What can be said… what can be done…
what can be read… what can be known
about how somebody is going to act,
how somebody is going to think,
how powerless somebody is going
to feel after they lose someone
who they have known all their life –
someone who they may not have seen every day,
someone who they may not have talked
to on a regular basis,
but someone who was always there
as a source of stability and faith,
and someone who they always loved.

Words can’t describe what certain
people go through after someone
they cared for unexpectedly dies…
some people feel numb, some people feel lost,
some people feel like they have misplaced
a part of themselves immediately after
they hear the tragic news that they
will never see someone again –
and sometimes the pain that is felt is so extreme
that it overpowers a person’s
natural ability to show their sorrow
with the tears of a cry.

It’s so sad to see people suffering
from profound grief to the degree
that they recede within themselves
both physically and psychologically –
not even wanting to leave
the coccoon of their bed to eat, to drink,
to wash their face, to dress themselves
how they normally would,
nor unable to convey the hurt
that they constantly feel in their chest
as their heart attempts to heal itself
after seemingly breaking into a million pieces.

It’s a long road back to normality
after you lose someone who always made
you feel special passes away –
there isn’t anything that anybody can do for you
other than to give you the time that you need
to come to terms with the hard reality
that death is the part of life
which nobody can do anything about,
but what each and every one of us can do
is to never forget all those people
who may have left us physically
but who will always be with us in spirit,
who may have seen something in us
that we may never have seen
and who may have known us
better than we could ever truly know ourselves
and who every day we will think of,
who will love always, who we will always honour,
who we will always remember,
who we will always be grateful for the gift of,
and who not a day will go by
when we will not grieve for them.

Happy Birthday, William Shakespeare! ✒📝📖📚

 ‘All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players. They have their exits and their entrances; And one man in his time plays many parts.’ - William Shakespeare

(As You Like It, Act 2, Scene 7)

My Poem “Forty”

Where did all the time go?
The last thing I knew I was
celebrating my thirtieth birthday,
and today I am celebrating
turning the big four-oh?
What a forty years it has been!
What a life I have lived!
When I look back I sometimes
cannot believe where I have been,
what I have done, nor who I have met
over the course of my life –
and because time goes by so fast
there are inevitably dreams that I have had
that feel like memories and there are memories
that I have made that sometimes feel like dreams.

It’s been forty years since I arrived
into this world that every day
never ceases to both surprise and inspire me…
it’s been forty years since I was
welcomed into this world with open arms
by my parents and by my family…
it’s been forty years since I first
saw another human being,
since I first smiled, since I first heard
the background music of nature
that never stops playing…
it’s been forty years since the light
of the sun bestowed upon me
the sight of miracles that will always be with me
and will continue to keep my heart beating.

I remember exactly where I was,
what I was doing, and what I was thinking
ten years ago, when I turned thirty –
and when I think back to those simpler times
I cannot believe what the last ten years
especially have given to me:
the gift of inspiration, the gift of poetry,
the gift of perpetual love,
the gift of looking above to the stars
of the night and to the bright blue
of the daytime sky, and the realisation
that life is an adventure that needs
to be lived to be fully understood.


I know who I am, I know what I am,
and I know who and what in this world
mean the most to me –
so, today, as I turn forty,
if I had to choose one word
to describe myself or my life,
I would undoubtedly have to say: Lucky –
because over the last forty years
I have been given a life filled with
moments that are the stuff of pure poetry.

My New Book “VEGA – The Vampire King” is Out Now!

Hi, everyone!

I am thrilled to be able to tell you that my new book “VEGA -The Vampire King” is now available to own as both an ebook for Kindle and in paperback from Amazon! I hope everybody enjoys reading and discovering who the enigmatic Vega “The Vampire King” really is, where he came from, and what happened to him after and as a result of meeting Olivia Hunter.

Happy reading! 🙂🥳🎊🎉📚📖🧛🧛‍♀️🧛‍♂️

-Mark

My Poem “The Wildest of Dreams”

When I was young the world appeared to be
too big for my mind to comprehend…
when I was young I believed that if
I stayed in one place, doing the same thing,
then I could make something
last forever and never end…
when I was young I loved exploring
the world around me and drawing upon
the people around me for love and joy,
and when I needed my nearest and dearest
I was never left disappointed.

When I was young I read books,
I watched TV shows, I marveled at movies,
I listened to music that left such
an impression on me that to this day
every time I hear a certain song
I am instantly spellbound by its magic…
when I was young I imagined
what I would do and who I would become
when I was older, more experienced,
and hopefully a little wiser –
and now that I am older, after having seen
more of the world, and after having met people
from all walks of life all around the world,
on many occasions I have found myself
having moments of clarity, of inspiration
and insight into who each of us are,
how we should treat each other,
and how lucky we are to live
in the here and in the now –
rather than a hundred years before or after.

When I was young I could never
have imagined living in a world
surrounded by and connected to
an invisible web that can make
dreams come true and can be the place
where people go to find everything
and everyone – from a book to a film,
from a friend to a fiancé,
from a kitchen sink to a television,
from a celebrity to a spiritual guru…
when I was young the future seemed far away
and I did not have that much love
for patience, nor poetry –
however, now that I am older,
I realize that the one gift that has
kept me going, kept me dreaming,
and has kept me on the straight and narrow,
is the blessing of growing up with
the cherished abilty to be able
to instantly see the forest through the trees
and believe possibilities beyond
the wildest of all dreams.