My Poem “Quotes”

“I have always loved reading quotes,
I have always loved sharing quotes,
I have always loved the way that
something that someone once said
is captured, written down,
and recorded for posterity,
because what someone in particular
said at a particular time
captured the attention and the imagination
of someone, got inside them,
and changed them profoundly –
sometimes to the degree that the words
that someone once uttered,
perhaps just in passing,
struck something deep inside
and grew to become their life-long motto
and the words that they daily live by.

The right quote, at the right time,
can be a powerful thing…
the right words, said by the right person,
when someone is sorely in need of wisdom
can be like rocket-fuel for the mind…
the right insight from the first-hand
experience of another person can be like
a parachute for someone – allowing them
to gently glide back down to Earth
from a place high above the ground –
when they feel like they are falling through life,
and it can create metaphysical wings
to make a person believe that they are soaring…
the right collection of interconnected letters
and words can reveal so much about
what is going on within a person’s mind
that they sometimes find that they have to hide
from everybody observing them on the outside.

Quotes are amazing to me,
because they are like gold nuggets of wisdom
and inspiration that people sometimes find
when they are sifting through
the fast-moving stream of life…
magical rainbows of colour and depth
that show themselves after a rain-storm
of uncertainty and unpredictability
that are brought to light when the right
conditions present themselves
and beauty arises and when truth
and nature come into alignment.

The best quotes ever captured
are poetic in so many ways –
and usually more so than the speaker
who was the source was ever conscious of
when they said them…
when I read something, when I hear something,
when I feel something in something
that someone else has said,
it is always impossible for me
to not be affected by it –
especially if what I have read, what I have heard,
what I have felt was something that
instantly and immediately had an impact on me…
to me some of the most inspiring words of wisdom
that still haunt the world
are the true ghosts and the real spirits
of people who may have long-since passed on,
but who will live on forever
through their poignant, timeless,
and immortal quotes.”

-Mark Hastings, 2019

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My Poem ‘Correspondant’

When I was 12 years-old
I had a pen-pal from France;
when I was in school,
I and the rest of my french-class
were asked to write a letter in french
to someone who had written a letter in English
to the person with the name
whom they had randomly picked out of a hat…
I was picked by a boy called “Sebastian” –
who I believe went to school in a town in Normandy –
and over the next few months
I would write in my best french to Sebastian,
and Sebastian in-turn would write
in his best English to me.
Sebastian would tell me about where he lived,
about his family, and about his love of the English-language.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Sebastian’s letters to me –
however, my competence in replying to Sebastian in french
left a lot to be desired, and after a while
I did not reply to Sebastian in the same frequency
as he was writing to me.

Sebastian sent letter after letter
about a myriad of different things that were happening to him –
but, unfortunately, my letter-writing to Sebastian
had gone from once a month to none-at-all,
which to this day still makes me feel horrible
and it is one of the many things that I regret
and which still picks away at my conscience.

When I was 12, I was not the writer that I am today.
When I was 12, “social-media” had not been invented,
neither had what we call today the “internet”,
and talking to someone in another country –
even as geographically close as France is to England –
felt as hard as talking to an alien a far-away galaxy.
When I was 12, school felt like a place
where I was forced to attend.
When I was 12, I did not understand
what in life is the most important.

I am in my thirties now,
and high-school, or secondary-school
as we call it here in England,
feels like it was many moons ago
than I can remember with as much clarity
as I have for yesterday –
however, as with many moments from my childhood,
there are things that still stand-out
and there are some moments
that rise to the surface of my mind randomly
when I least expect them to…
and today, on a rainy Saturday afternoon,
here in England, as I sit behind my desk,
in my bedroom, writing in my notebook,
is one of those times when something
and someone that I haven’t thought about in years
has flashed back to me and made me ask
with genuine fascination:
I wonder whatever happened to “Sebastian”,
my life-time ago pen-pal from France.

My Poem ‘Missing Letters’

Messages can be exchanged
in an instant;
feelings can be communicated
with a heart-beat;
some letters
that never reached
their intended recipient
and destination
could be those
of the highest importance;
gone are the days
when you would literally
have to wait weeks for a single reply –
however, I still believe
that the most powerful of contacts
that there could ever be
are those that are made
by using your feet.

First-person perspective,
face-to-face,
eye-to-eye and infinitely expressive
is always the best,
especially when it does not wholly
require the assistance of a satellite
orbiting in space –
but in this day and age,
we who are living here on Earth
are so lucky to have
all the means of technology at our fingertips.
I must admit that I too would feel bereft
if I could not speak what I am thinking,
as well as express myself
via my facial-expressions –
like the blowing
the one I love a goodnight kiss.

The written word and the printed white page
is a thing of beauty, to me –
but the power of text and the images
of a back-lit and bright screen,
I must admit, are, to me,
a draw, and to one
I am like that a moth to a flame.
I adore books and stories
written be fantastic and phenomenal writers,
but what you can see and share online
on the internet is an incredibly evocative,
vivid, and epic, world-changing domain.

I recently read a news story online
about the discovery of an amazing find:
a leather trunk from the 17th century
had been unearthed that contained
over two thousand letters –
most of the letters that have been translated
tell stories of a people
and what they were feeling and thinking
at a particularly eventful
and momentous time in their life,
while most of them thus far
still remain a mystery
as to what they say –
and I truly believe that such a discovery
is one of a treasure
that may never again come to light,
because those letters are fragments of time.

Letters can be lost, misplaced, forgotten about
sent out across the sea in a bottle –
however, messages that are sent electronically
follow you wherever you go
and are like coin thrown into a well
that never reaches the watery bottom.
Our electronic messages are like our own
digital ghosts and shadows
that we are responsible for;
our electronic images and profiles
can be seen by everyone and anyone,
24-hours a day, from the last light of dusk
to the first light of a new dawn.

There is a lot to be thankful for
about living in the times that we do;
we have discovered answers to questions
that our ancestors prayed to god
that they wished they knew;
there are things that we all do well –
but we as a species, in my opinion,
can all do better;
we may all find what we have been looking for
all our lives if we too were
to somehow miraculously discover,
or rediscover, buried over time
a treasure trove
of lost or missing letters.