‘Me and My Ukulele’ by Mark Hastings

There are times when I am in my room, thinking about what I am going to write about next, when I just reach for the hand-built DIY ukulele that I bought and I put together piece by piece, and just start strumming and creating whatever music I am inspired to play. It’s so invigorating! It’s so captivating! I never thought that I would get so attached to a musical instrument, but from the moment I built my ukulele, and I started plucking away at the strings, I began to feel this connection with it and with the music that I could produce… and I absolutely love playing my ukulele whenever I can, just for fun, just so that I can make some kind of music – music that I can feel on a subconscious level, and music that means something profound to me! 😊🤟🪕🎶🎵

My Poem “Strum”

I am not exactly sure what
it was that overcame me,
but from the moment that
I first saw and I first heard
someone playing a ukulele
I was immediately entranced
and fascinated by this
stringed instrument,
that looks like a miniature guitar,
that naturally seems to have this
calming tone to it when a player
strums its cords that range G C E A…
I am not exact sure why
I was compelled to buy my D.I.Y.
ukulele from the bookstore I found it in –
so that I could leisurely learn
how to play an instrument of my own choosing?
To feel a wave of emotional connection
and a sense of fun when driving
my fingers over the four strings
that I physically tied
from the bridge to the pegs of the headstock?
I’m not sure, but that is exactly what happened:
because as soon as I began to innocently
move my fingers over the four strings
of the ukulele that I had to glue, screw, and attach all the separate
components of, I felt this instant
and emotionally charged feedback
from the sounds that I created,
and I felt a rush of instant creative inspiration.

There is something special about
making things with your own two hands…
there is something about having
a project in front of you
to put your heart and your mind to…
there is something about the visceral
connection that a lot of people feel
when they handle a piece of wood
that has been crafted into the vital
parts of an instrument…
there is something almost spiritual
about holding something
and feeling as if what you have
in your hands has its own identity,
its own story, its own voice, its own soul…
there is something wonderful about
finding something brand new
that you never could have imagined
that you would ever discover
that would give you the gift
of grasping something profound.

I have always been in awe
of those naturally gifted artists
who can pick up an instrument
and instinctually know how to play
something in such a way that they
can illicit an emotional response
from their audience and immediately
generate a continuum of connection
without even knowing that they are doing so…
I have always wanted to learn how
to play a musical instrument
and to be good enough to be able
to capture and to sustain someone’s,
anyone’s, attention, in a good way –
and hopefully not bore them to tears…
I have known some singers, some song-writers,
and some instrumentalists over my life,
and I have had many moments of feeling
this heartfelt bond with several voices,
sounds, songs – and when I write my own poetry
I attempt to write in such a way
that my words can be interpreted lyrically,
as if they were songs in and of themselves;
however, now I believe that I have found
something that I will use in the future
as an accompaniment to what I write,
and perhaps I will get inspiration for
the poetry that I will write to come
just by strumming upon the strings
of my new ukulele.

My Poem ‘The Lightning Conductor’

Life is an epic symphony…
life has a melody and a rhythm,
and a reason to be…
life is a series of rises and falls…
life has an air to it –
sometimes there is blue-sky and sunshine,
sometimes there are clouds, rain, thunder-storms…
life, in all its forms, is a work-in-progress
masterpiece, written, imagined, interpreted,
and conducted by a thunderous
and powerful conductor.

All things were created to work
in-concert with one-another –
but sometimes what that means
and how to put that message into practice
is interpreted in many different ways,
by many different people all over the world,
and it has been for all the centuries
of human existence;
everybody and every-one
are all individual players
of the same orchestra –
each playing their individual instruments
that they are gifted to play
and are destined to use
to both speak and listen;
all music has a composer –
it is not accidental that a musician
comes up with a sound, brings it to life,
and then they play it for all the world to hear;
every artist gifted in imagining inspiration,
visually or in an auditory-form,
is doing something that when it reaches
its true-potential can leave somebody
breathless, speechless,
captivated, and in-awe.

It was once thought that only the gods
of myth and legend could call-upon
and harness the forces of nature
and bend them to their will –
however, in my experience,
there are more forces of nature
than most people can name,
because in times gone by
“magic” was the word used
to describe some of these forces,
because they do not conform
with nature’s laws;
I am here to set the record straight,
and to say that lightning, energy,
sunlight, electricity, inspiration,
is not just a gift sent to us from the heavens –
I know this, because I feel, I touch, I live,
I interpret, I thrive, and I am kept alive
by a life-force that instantly strikes me
over and over again,
and every time it changes me a little,
and when it does I conduct my own movements
and I give others a reason to go on a journey
that they may never have thought to take before…
as I compose my own music,
while playing the music of the divine maestro,
and while being conducted
by life’s lightning conductor.

My Poem ‘Busk for you’

Strumming guitar strings,
a phenomenal voice
singing into a microphone,
an amazing and captivating
reverberation of sound –
a singer, a guitar player,
an artist, a hopeful dreamer,
an entertainer, someone with a gift
who is now standing at the centre
of a circle of people,
playing their heart out,
and singing every song as if they mean so much to them,
and as if every song were a song that had be written for them;
entrancing, inspiring, amazing,
making everyone stop and stare, smiling,
and even moving a black man
in a white hat holding a basket-ball
to stop in his tracks
and start dancing like Michael Jackson.

It always amazes me how much and how deeply
music can move and touch someone,
it has always enthralled me no-end
the connection that people form with certain songs;
it has always brought me joy
to see the happiness on the face
of someone who just loves singing
and who loves playing their instrument;
it always inspires me to be up close
to share some time with the gifted
and the artistic people that I randomly meet,
who are wonderfully exceptional and brilliant,
because they are so different.

I have seen performers of every age,
colour, gender, and ethnicity,
performing publicly, in all weathers,
in every city and town that I have been to;
I have watched singers, violinists,
guitarists, brass-bands, choirs,
full-orchestras, change and effect
the very air and the atmosphere of somewhere
and share hope through their music;
I have been moved in so many ways
emotionally by every artist whom I have listened to;
I have always envied singers and musicians –
because, anyone can write a rhyme,
anyone can have an idea come to them,
and anyone can tell a story,
but only a singer or a musician
can bring words and notes to life
in such a way that elevates them
from a page to make them truly epic.

When a busker is busking
they never want to stop playing,
and when they are playing
they never want to rush;
when a singer and a musician
who loves what they do
gets the chance to play,
they experience a feeling of true divine love;
when an instrumentalist
is masterfully bringing together
all the notes before them
and combining them into one
perfect expression of sound,
they feel and they know their instrument
so well that both player and instrument
have for each other a mutual trust;
when a busker is playing on their street corner,
or in the open space
where they feel the most comfortable playing,
and where everybody knows that they are going to be,
all that they want to do
is play like there is no tomorrow,
and busk for you.

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Check out the amazing Esther Turner on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/esthermusic and on Twitter at @Esther_Ninja

My Poem ‘As the song says’

I am only ‘Human’;
I live to ‘Imagine’;
In my ‘Imagination’
I have been ‘To the Moon And Back’;
I love intensely, endlessly,
‘Truly, Madly, Deeply’;
I have seen the face of ‘Heaven’;
when I was younger, I used to wish
that I had been ‘Born In The U.S.A.’;
I have stood high above the world
and have been captivated by the awe-inspiring
height I am standing at ‘All Along The Watchtower’;
I would give ‘Anything’ to look at my own reflection
and be the ‘Man In The Mirror’;
I would love it if I could make some moments
last forever, and ‘Stay Another Day’.

My ‘Burning Heart’ has never burned hotter or brighter;
my taste for life is as sweet as ‘Chocolate’;
my best has never been ‘Closer’;
my ‘Human Nature’, my inside-out emotions,
let me feel, see, and allow me to ‘Dance In The Dark’;
my new day feels ‘(Just Like) Starting Over’;
my hope has the power of a ‘Kiss from a Rose’;
my smile lingers;
I love my angel of inspiration,
and I could never ‘Let Her Go’.

The world and I play ‘Mind Games’;
the soundtrack around me makes me ‘Move Like Jagger’;
the world is able, this day and age, to bestow instant ‘Fame’;
nature is able to show you the truth of things,
daily from its ‘Little Black Book’,
and give everyone a dose of ‘Instant Karma’.

I am not just a ‘One Trick Pony’.
I embrace all things with ‘Open Arms’.
I sometimes feel ‘Out of Touch’,
but I always come ‘Back to Life’
when I feel ‘The Power of Love –
and I daily feel like I could run a marathon,
and climb to the top of high steps,
and raise my arms, as if I am ‘Gonna Fly Now’
like ‘Rocky’.
I feel like I know ‘Salvation’ when I ‘Say Something’,
and I sing to the one I love ‘Everything I do, I do it for you’;
as astronauts have silently said while ‘Walking On The Moon’,
as friends have felt ‘Always’, ‘Together’ –
especially those who were alive in the ‘Summer of ’69’;
and I never forget that ‘Life is a highway’,
that ‘True Love Never Dies’,
and that ‘The Best is yet to come’,
while we are all ‘Surrounded’ by the wonder
of a ‘Sky Full of Stars’, like the song says.