My Poem ‘Heaven smells like roses’

I believe that if hell smells like fire,
then heaven must smell like roses…
I believe that if you doubt yourself,
then you are only doing the devil’s work for them…
I believe that if you do not want
to fall under the spell of internal darkness
then I would suggest that you hold on
to the most powerful gift of all: faith,
and see where that faith in yourself will take you…
I believe that if at a young age
you think that you know every thing
that there is to know about life,
then you are in for a long life
full of surprises…
I believe that if you try not to focus
too much on the past
and what other people once made you feel about yourself
then you may actually be able to see past
the invisible mask that you wear
and which only you can see,
and then finally you will see
that you are somebody who is truly beautiful.

The sun makes both flowers and people bloom
when they feel its energizing rays…
in the light of a summer’s day
is when you can see elements
of heaven on Earth in full-display…
the sun is like a drug
that can instantly make you smile
and put you in a good mood…
the summer is a precious and memorable time –
especially around the summer holiday season
and the month of Flaming June.

I save special days and heavenly experiences
in my mind and I relive them in my day-dreams,
especially on cold and rainy winter days…
I try to remember as much as I can
about a time that I know I will always consider
to be special, one of a kind, and important to me…
when I think back to when I was a child,
even then I remember the days and the nights of summer
as being the times when the beauty of nature
made me feel happy and the most blessed…
some things are too unmistakable for words to ascribe…
some things are always going to be
a matter of faith and belief –
in god, or perhaps in yourself?
I believe that we were given seeds
from which to grow new gardens,
because we need to learn
that the path to happiness
and the revelation of perfection
can only come to us
when we see ourselves for who we are in our heart,
and when we realize that wherever heaven is
and whenever we go there
we will instantly know for sure, as I believe,
that heaven does in fact smell of roses.

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My Poem ‘In view of the Trocadero’

You can’t beat a great seat
near a window with a great view –
whether it be a panoramic-view in Italy
that features the epic and awe-inspiring sight
of a volcano called “Mount Vesuvius”,
or the watery-splendor of the majestic fountains
of the Palais de Chaillot in France,
or standing on the rocky-top of Tennessee…
there are some sights and some places
that irrevocably stay with you.

So much art has been created…
so many poems have been written…
so many stories have been generated…
so many songs have been christened
with the identity and the inspiration
that they will always be known for…
so many things cannot be captured
with a photograph, or with words –
because no matter what is seen or said
about a place in particular
there is always so much more…
memories from childhood of a place
that we visited mean so much
because they were the first time
that we went there,
and nobody ever forgets
their first time going somewhere…
legends are built upon
the retelling of tales
and the experiences of people
who wanted the history of the world
to never forget what it is
and what it was about a place
that gave people a reason to say
why it is that they care
and what is the most important thing
about a place that they want to share.

When you are looking out the window of an airplane
you feel like you are within
touching-distance of heaven…
when you are sitting on a bench in Golden Gate Park
and marveling at the oasis
of spell-binding beauty that you see
at the very heart of the city of San Francisco…
when you are standing on a seaside boardwalk
and you become intoxicated
by all that stimulates your senses
as you become hypnotized by the sight
of the bright sunlight
shimmering on the ocean waves below…
when you are somewhere that instantly
becomes somewhere that means the world to you,
you will take that place with wherever you go…
just like the view that I have now of The Trocadero –
a small reminder of a place with the same name,
that lives on even though it is far from home.

My Poem ‘Soul of the Summer’

Summer is the season of the sun;
summer is the time when everything can shine;
summer is sometimes different
in different places around the world,
it depends where you are from;
summer is when all life can flourish
and share its colours far and wide;
summer brings about new experiences,
new music, new inspirations,
re-invigoration of soul and spirit,
and it is when anyone and everyone
can get out and enjoy the beauty of the world
and see the face of nature close-up,
and if and when you can
to have a good time.

The sunlight of a summer morning,
the heat of the summer air,
the vibe of a summer spent walking,
talking, recalling, and memory making;
the incomparable and intense summer glare;
the constant mood medicine on the summer breeze
that keeps you smiling;
the summer sensation that you feel
when your skin changes colour;
the summer days spent rocking
from side to side in a hammock
that feels like you are lying calmly on a cloud
as you spend hours just relaxing.

Every summer is unique;
you can capture important moments
in photographs, memories, impressions –
but you can’t every capture everything;
every summer has its valleys and its peaks;
you can often recall a particular summer
by recalling the songs that were constantly playing
on the radio that everybody was singing;
every summer is revealing,
and it is a time to say and to do
absolutely anything.

Sneakers, sandals, tennis shoes, flip-flops;
shorts, skirts, t-shirts, low-cut tops;
shades, sunglasses, baseball caps;
sun-screen, jackets, thirst-quenching drinks on-tap.

The message of the summer in which you find yourself
is always to allow things to be see, and to feel free;
the golden season is when you can seek out and enjoy
all that the world has to offer;
the meaning of every season
is to make the most of the gift of life’s beauty;
hope is meant to rush through the bloodstream of everybody,
and finding hope in something that makes you happy
is what it means to have found the soul of the summer.

My Poem ‘Live for the moment’

Living for the moment,
living in the moment;
doing something different,
going somewhere different;
soaking up the rays of the sun,
going out and having all kinds of fun;
having so many ideas in your head
you do not know where to start,
thinking about so many things to do –
the thought of the potential possibilities
feel almost too much for both your head and your heart;
taking the initiative and acting on instinct;
making a plan to dive low and rise high,
like the bubbles of a fizzy drink.

Where once things felt harder,
because they felt so far away –
today, everything is accessible with a touch;
where once people used to think
that there was a literal edge and end to the Earth,
humanity has learned that no matter where
and in what direction you travel
there is always more to see and further to go –
because the world is constantly
and instantaneously redefining the meaning of living,
and when it comes to Life
that could not and will not ever be enough.

One of the greatest things you can do
is to plant a seed, and with your care and attention
watch it grow before your eyes;
one of the best experiences of your life
is when you are doing something with someone
and everything feels effortless, timeless, momentous,
and truth transcends words;
one of the moments that stays with you
is the feeling of intense and deep happiness
without the need to try;
one of the things that reminds you
that you are a part of something
larger and greater than you might have realized,
is something that you see and feel everyday –
but which you may take for granted,
and that is Life itself:
the air we breathe,
the language and the detail
in the landscape that surrounds us,
and in the burning core and in the heart
at the centre of our beautiful and glorious world.

There are oceans of energy,
as well as oceans of water;
there are reasons for things to be as they are,
beyond how they appear;
there are silent languages of signs
that say infinitely more than the response
of a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’ answer;
there are people who are more in-tune
with the needs, the voice,
and the poetry of our sphere;
there is a constant concert performing
that is free to attend, and anyone can revel at it
and participate in it with the gift
of their birth-born instrument;
there is a time to embrace and to seize life,
and that time is always right now…
so take this instant, and run with it!
And whatever you do next, promise yourself
to make the most of every second…
and live for the moment!

My Poem ‘The Umbrella’

The greatest escape on a rainy day,
the best cover to tie you over
from the lightning and the thunder;
whenever, wherever, you are
something akin to the sun of a Summer’s day;
a perfect oasis and the most serene place
of peace of mind and spirit;
that which when you hear it playing
is literally music to your ears,
that is personal –
but can also be shared in a different way
with people that you are in constant contact with,
that both stimulates all kinds of emotions and tears –
the thing that is so intrinsic to you
it is almost a part of your soul;
the coat of protection
that helps you brave the winter’s cold.

Like the roots of a tree,
like the canopy of a forest,
like the ground beneath all of our feet,
like the constituents of a bird’s nest,
we all have things above us, below us,
and around us, that ground us,
and that inspire us and amaze us
over and over, and without them
we would not be who we want to be,
and we would not be blessed with life’s
invisible, natural, but always present, poetry.

When the rain stops falling,
when the clouds part
and the sun shines again,
when life emerges from where it has been hiding,
as the writers continue to drive
the swirls and the course
of the ink of their pens,
when the Earth settles
and a brand new set of ripple effects
echo throughout the world,
like raindrops falling on the water of a pond,
when new experiences and new thoughts
accentuate and strengthen already deep-seated bonds,
when you need a shelter to wait for a break in the weather…
take out, unveil, open again,
that which has always served to be your refuge
and your constant umbrella.

My Poem ‘Daredevil’

Every child is born
just as their parents were;
even as you grow and you learn
you still cannot see your own
personal future;
everyone experiences things
in their lives that are a test,
in one way or another;
some things that happen
are out of our hands
and they are things
that are beyond our control,
but it is how we respond to things
and the way in which we react
that is a test of character beyond compare.

Accidents happen; people get hurt;
things don’t always work with precision;
one minute you can find yourself
standing tall and strong,
and the next you can be lying
face-first in the dirt;
terrible life-changing events
can sweep you up in them
that can affect you for the rest of your life:
one second you can be walking across a busy road,
and the next you might find yourself
in a corridor walking towards a bright light;
you can be bitten by a random insect,
you can be sitting and suddenly feel
a sharp pain in your arm;
you can wake up one morning and feel depressed;
you can unknowingly be causing yourself
and someone else harm or distress;
you could catch a disease
that is so destructive and corrosive
the cure to survive it may be to lose a limb,
and when you do come up against something
and you have to make a choice
to go with the flow,
to fight for your own identity
is the only way for you to win.

Life is hardly ever plain-sailing;
we all sometimes have to make a course-correction,
now and again;
sometimes we all have to suffer through pain
to feel something amazing.
We are all human; we are all biologically similar –
but no two peoples’ lives are one and the same.

I admire a soldier;
I know why it is important
to have the heart of a fighter;
I know what it is like to lose something important
and see it wither away, as if it were
being burned to ashes by a fire;
the people that fill my heart with optimism,
who overcome their often troubled lives,
are the people to me who always inspire.

To face every day with the same enthusiasm
as a child is glorious;
to never shy away from what you have to do
is truly audacious;
to explore and embrace a brand new frontier
is what it means to be a daredevil and adventurous;
to never shrink and to never turn away
from a worthy fight is the best way of showing
the true indomitable nature of the human soul;
and just how much,
no matter what you are going through,
you can be fearless and phenomenally courageous.

My Poem ‘Birthmark’

34 years, 408 months,
1,774 weeks, 12,418 days ago,
on the 21st of April, 1981,
a little boy was born
and two of the most wonderful
and amazing parents
anyone could ask for
were blessed with a son –
that was the day
that I arrived in the world,
and that was when the tapestry of my life
slowly began to unfurl.

Mark James Hastings,
that is the name that I was given at birth
and that is who I have been
since it was printed for all time
on my birth certificate;
son, brother, friend,
wanderer, wonderer,
dreamer, hard-worker,
and 99.9 percent of the time
a lover of life and a writer
in the form of a poet.

People are always telling me
that I don’t look my age;
people are always asking me
what my secret is to having
an old soul inside someone
with such a young face;
people ask me all the time
where I get my ideas from
when I am writing,
and my response to that question
is one word: life –
because that is the epic adventure
that is eternally and limitlessly
exciting, enlightening, and inspiring.

I have flashes of memories of my childhood
that regularly come back to me;
I have emotions of experiences from my life
that daily make me smile and make me cry;
I have mental and physical photos
that I look at with glee;
I have questions that I ask
that begin who…? what…? where…?
when…? how…? why…?
But I will always know and remember
what is important and I will continue
to spread the word about what I have learned
in my life, and sometimes I secretly wish
that I could replay certain special moments
that I have had, even though I know
life is meant to be so that I can’t.

Today is my birthday;
today is a day that is close to my heart;
today is a day when I have so much to say;
today is always the day when I think back
and I talk to my younger self,
and even at the moment that I am born
I visualize myself in the mind
of my infant-self and I leave myself
a message and a question that has no end
that I know I will carry my whole life –
like a defining and indelible birthmark.

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