Mark The Poet – The Podcast: Episode #40

My Poem “My God Father”

Forget Zeus, forget Odin –
because no other father in history,
nor within the pages of mythology,
could ever compare to my father
because my Dad will always be
one of the most inspiring, influential,
and important forces over me,
because all his life my Dad has given
the gift of his presence and he has
been there in so many ways for me
and for our entire family.

My Dad has worked all his life,
he has given back,
and he has helped others
through so many selfless acts
that embody who my Dad is,
what my Dad stands for,
where my Dad comes from,
and what has always been
important to my Dad:
his family, his friends, his humility,
his enduring spirit, and his strength
of character that is incomparable
and which is the reason why no one
ever forgets my Dad nor
all the amazing things that he
has done throughout his life.

My Dad is a hero – just ask anybody
who knows him and his name…
my Dad has been through so much –
but never do you ever hear him complain…
my Dad is the personification
and the example of the person
who you would hope and pray
to arrive – with his distinctive
blue eyes and his magnetic smile –
to save the day while using
all the power at their disposal
to bring about a miracle –
and that is why when I look at my Dad
I never see just a man,
because when I look at my Dad
I always see my father: the God.

Two years on, I’m still “Playing God”

It has been exactly two years since my book “Playing God” was published – and over that time, since writing the stories within, I have been thinking a lot about The Man in Black/The Man in White who is the protagonist of the book and the stories that I wrote.

I will admit that when I first began writing the character of “The Man in Black” in the first story of the collection I did not entirely know who he was, what he was, nor where he came from – however, the more stories that I wrote the more I discovered who he was, what he was, and where he came from, and when I was touched by the hand of inspiration and I found out who he was/what he was everything just fell into place and that realization echoed through and influenced every story that features him.

It’s weird, but I discover something new about the protagonist of the stories and the book I wrote every day – things that I must have included subconsciously while I was writing them – and when I think about who the “Man in Black” is and who he used to be before the stories that I told of him are set, I realize how much of his hidden identity/who he used to be continues to inspire everything that he does, the acts that he chooses to take, and the interactions that he has with the other characters of the stories… an identity that he is trying to run away from and be the antithesis of.

I have come to think of the seven stories of “Playing God” as three act plays, of a sort – something that was not initially intended, but something that delights me was the final outcome by accident… or was it? In any case, “Playing God” is and always will be a special book to me and one that includes so much of me within its pages and within the main protagonist. So, I just want to say a Happy 2nd Birthday to my book “Playing God”and happy birthday to “The Man In Black” who inspired me so much.

I drew this sketch back in February in anticipation for the two year anniversary of the publication of my book “Playing God” and it is essentially a brainstorm of things that the “Man in Black” might have had racing through his head at any given moment of every one of the seven stories within the collection that he features.

Writing all the stories of “Playing God”was a journey of discovery for me just as it was for the “Man in Black/Man in White” whom I wrote about, and I will always think of those stories and that character fondly, and perhaps one day I will find another tale to tell about the mercurious “Man in Black” who looks like David Bowie but who is not David Bowie.

-Mark

“We Can Be Heroes”

“The Man In Black” from my book ‘Playing God’ just dropped me a line and wanted me to tell everybody what he always says to me and what he always reminds me: Stay safe! Stay positive! Stay hopeful! And, of course, always be like David Bowie and remember “We can be heroes”… and I really do hope and pray that with the help and the support of everyone – both medical professionals and everybody on Earth – we can all get through this crisis and all help to beat the Coronavirus by working together and by supporting one another. Take care, my friends! Be a hero in any way that you can! 😊🌠

My Poem “My Hero”

Family has always meant
everything to my Dad
and my Dad will always mean
everything to our family…
my Dad is the heart of our family,
the one that we take
all of our strength, our love,
and our inspiration from,
and he means more to all of us
than could ever be expressed…
my Dad has often had to suffer
the scars of all the battles
that he has found himself drawn into –
both physical and emotional;
however, my Dad has never given up,
my Dad has always put
everyone else’s thoughts, feelings,
and needs before his own,
and my Dad has always been there
for his children when they
needed him the most…
my Dad is such a phenomenal
role-model, a beacon hope,
and his natural blue eyes
and his magnetic smile
is always reason enough
to smile in return and believe
that even the darkest of days
can be turned around with a ray
of sunshine in the form
of someone selfless and special…
the gift that is my Dad
is the one that I have been blessed
to have in my life all my life,
and I would not be anything
without the super-human man
who will forever be an inspiration
to me in so many ways:
the one who first taught me
the meaning of working hard
for whatever it is that you desire,
and the one who daily shows me
that nothing is ever impossible,
because my Dad –
David William George Hastings –
is and always will be my hero.

My Poem “The Hero’s Journey”

It occurs to me that since I
first began writing poetry
that I have been on my own version
of “The Hero’s Journey”…
perhaps I have been on
my “Hero’s Journey” since I was a child –
or, more likely, like most people
who find themselves called
to seek out adventure,
my childhood was just the preparation
that I needed to learn and to grow
before I knew what I had to do,
why I had to do it,
and where I needed to go.

My call to adventure was one of love –
and when I discovered the book
that I would come to consider
as the poetic version of a “holy text”
that was when I felt like I crossed
a threshold into a new world
where I could see patterns
and poetry all around me
and I felt truly transformed
and able to walk through doors
that I was unable to do so before.

When I first started upon
the path of the poet,
and wearing the guise
of the Poet of the Sphere,
along the way I found myself
drawn to people and inspired
by mentors and muses
who opened my eyes to things
that challenged the way
that I perceived the world around me
and I was tempted down dead ends
that would ultimately lead me to a downfall.

After my fall I found myself
within a dark and deep abyss
of my own making –
however, eventually, I was able
to pick myself up off the ground
and like the embodiment of
a mythological phoenix
rising from a fire
I felt as if I had been reborn,
and yet again I found myself
walking down a path of transformation
in order to find myself,
which was followed by
moments of revelation
that lead me to atone
for the actions that I had taken
that had lead me to emotional ruin.

Over time I was given the gift
of love from a goddess
and I was forgiven, and then I returned
from the underworld of the unknown
to the land of light where I would
rekindle the love that gives
meaning to everything that I do –
and so the cycle began again,
and again – however each time always
distinctly different in some way –
and after every new revolution
was completed I always found myself
sitting down, alone, writing,
contemplating and attempting
to interpret in verse the revelations
and the phases that combine
to make the tapestry of
my own version of
“The Hero’s Journey”.

‘Playing God’ out now on Amazon

Seven stories… Seven perspectives… Seven experiences… One Man in Black, one Man in White… Seven morality tales of one immortal… Rebel, Hero, Friend, Fan, Father, Son. Playing God takes you on a journey that connects a hero of myth with a modern day hero of music.

You can get a copy of my new book, Playing God, below:

My Poem ‘Scales & George’

George was brave…
George was strong…
George was a knight
who was always looking
for someone to save…
George was the one
everybody called out to for help,
and he could do no wrong.

“Scales” was your common mountain dragon,
living in his cavernous cave
underneath the Earth –
when one day, after returning from a bit of fun
that involved flying, fire-breathing,
and accidentally scaring half-to-death
the local town-folk that lived nearby,
Scales was payed a visit by a “knight”
who called himself “George” –
who had the smallest of swords
that Scales had ever seen –
and who was as full of heart
as he was overflowing with words.

It was not any every occurrence
for Scales to be visited by anyone –
not even an another dragon;
it was rare that a human
voluntarily came looking for Scales –
however, even from his first glance
at the young warrior-wannabee,
Scales could tell that George
was not just anyone.

“I am George – knight of the night,
defender of the weak,
the hero of the people of Mountain Shadow –
and I, dragon, am here to slay you!”
Said George while holding his sword
out in front of him
as he walked into Scales’ cave
and came face to face with the dragon.

To which, Scales laughed uncontrollably
and even exhaled a few flames of fire
he was so amused by what he had just heard.
Scales, however, was impressed by George’s
pronunciation and his ability to speak
“dragonese” – a gift that he did not know
that any human could utter,
well no human before George
that he had ever encountered.

“Well, George, hero of Mountain Shadow,
I am Scales – nice to meet you!”
Scales replied with a smile
as he looked into George’s eyes
and hoped to put a smile
on George’s glum-looking face;
however, George looked angry
to Scales for some reason,
and he did not appear to be
taking a breath –
which was probably why his face
looked like it was changing colour
and why he was shaking so intensely.

“Did you not hear me, dragon?
I am here to slay you!”
Shouted George as he could feel
his helmet begin to slip
even further down his face.

“I heard you just fine, George!
Would you care to take off you helmet
and your armour, maybe?
You have come a long way from your town –
you must be tired?” Scales replied –
fearing that George might soon faint.

“I cannot do that! I must slay you
so that you may stop terrorizing my people!
Every time we see you in the sky above
our children scream, our women cry,
and our men drink themselves into a stupor.
And I have been sent here to face you
and to slay you, because among our people
there is no one braver than I!”
Said George as he shook from helmet to his boots.

“Really, dear George?
I mean George, defender of the weak?
I am truly sorry to hear that!
I did not mean to cause so much panic!
Please forgive me?”
Said Scales with a genuine expression of regret –
to Scales he was only just having a bit of fun,
and he honestly did not mean to cause such upset.

“Forgive you? You are asking for my forgiveness?
Do you not want to roar? Or breath flames, maybe?
Also, can you tell me how it is possible
that a dragon such as you are
can speak, and speak the most perfect of English?”

“It is not I who is speaking English, dear George –
you are speaking dragonese!
I had no idea anyone or anything could speak
in the dragon-tongue –
however, I am both surprised and pleased!”

“I am? Since when?
I had no idea there was such a language?”
Said George with a look of astonishment.

“And I had no idea that humans had such
a big heart for such a small body?
Today is truly a day for human-dragon
mutual-relations development!”

“You are not a monster at all, are you?
You are not what our children dream of
in their nightmares!
I thought that slaying you would be
the crowning achievement of my life –
but now, I realize that
though we may look different from one-another
there are things that both humans and dragons
have in common and share.”

“Perhaps you could return to your town
and say that you did in fact slay me?
And in return, I promise to never shadow
the town of Mountain Shadow,
nor shake fear into the hearts of its people,
ever again!” Said Scales as he thought out-loud.

“And you would just let me turn around and leave?
You wouldn’t just come up behind me and eat me
so fast that I wouldn’t even hear a sound?’

“George, I promise! Believe me, I had no idea
that I was perceived as such a demon of skies
by your people! I may be a dragon…
I may breath fire from time to time,
but I do not tell lies.
In fact, I have been thinking about
turning vegetarian? Sheep and cows
do not taste that great,
and humans do not do any favours
to my already sensitive-stomach
and my problematic digestion!”
Said Scales with a wry toothy-smile
after he licked his lips jokingly.

“But what if someone from town find out?
If my people ever found out that I lied
they might banish me?’ Said George worriedly.

“No one will find out. Your secret is safe with me.
You go home and receive a heroes-welcome for slaying me.
I will even give you an old tooth of mine as proof!”

“You would do that for me?”
Said George with a lump in his throat
and a tear in his eye.

“Of course I would, George!
That is what friends are for!
And if you ever need my help in any way
then do not hesitate to return her in the future.”
Said Scales with a smile,
before yawning and stretching out his wings.

“Thank you! “Scales” is it? Thank you
for your kindness and your generous offer –
I will not forget!”

“Now head home, young knight –
and tell your fellow towns-folk
how you slayed me easily
and then took a tooth from my mouth
as a souvenir. And, as I said,
if you ever need me I will be right here.”

And so, George turned around with a grin
and left Scales’ cave holding an old tooth of his
that must have been the size of his hand –
leaving Scales to rest in comfort and in silence again,
and thinking about his new-found human friend.

George returned home to his town more of a hero
than he was before he had left –
and telling anybody who might want to listen
how he slayed the dragon of the mountain
(but who to George was secretly his new best-friend).

Both George and Scales knew that their meeting
was just the beginning of a long friendship
that would be a staple of their shared future –
and both Scales and George knew
that it would not be long
before they saw one-another again
and they shared a brand new adventure.

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