Episode #18: “The Mark The Poet Experience” – Recent Poetry

In this episode Mark recites four of his most recent poems: “Same Language”, “Why?”, “The Runners and Riders”, “Hello/Goodbye”, and gives some personal insights into the inspiration for them.

My Poem “Why?”

There is always a reason,
there is always a why,
there is always a motivation
for the myriad of actions
that people sometimes take
and for the many decisions
that people sometimes make
that they have no trouble in
being able to justify.

Where there is a spark
there will always be a flame...
where there is touch and proximity
there will always be intimacy...
where there is language
there is will always be consideration,
interpretation and loss -
because truth and reality
are not always the same...
where there is the evidence of stories
of the past there will always remain mysteries.

Myths, legacies, stories, records,
chronicles, cave paintings, rock carvings
are important depictions of a mixture
of both fiction and fact all rolled into one...
sometimes it doesn't take anything more
than someone saying that they heard
a voice tell them to do something
for them to immediately act
seemingly without thinking,
nor without a fight...
symbols, signs, warnings, lessons,
cautionary tales are vital for
any civilization to learn the merits
of what is right and what is wrong...
sometimes it takes the bravest of the brave
to stop something that they know
is going to happen before it happens -
so that some day someone won't have to
look back upon a choice that they made
and have to justify to others
and perhaps to themselves
the answer to the question: why?

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 Way of the Artist”

Everything changes...
everything evolves...
everybody doing every thing
has their own process...
new things have naturally arisen
over time to replace other things
and other ways of doing things;
however, some things never change -
and one of the things that will never change
is the way that artists are inspired,
the way that artists seek out
new sources of stimulation,
the way that artists wake up
every morning and want to create art,
the way that artists cannot settle down
to sleep without first either thinking
about or doing something about
the nugget of an idea within them.

There is something inherently human
about art and about attempting to capture
the sometimes incomparable,
about the need to express our inner most
thoughts, feelings, emotions, dreams,
hopes, fears, and our natural insecurities...
there is something primal about
the experience of having this overriding
instinct that we feel compelled to act upon...
there is something almost genetic
about how people young and old
seem to have the same unconscious ability
to be able to go to the same places
that other people are unable to,
because there exists this continuity
of connection that crosses generations
like some kind of universal melody.

All my life I have created art,
I have witnessed art being created,
and I have come to recognize
the look in a fellow artist's eyes
when they are deep within that moment
when the inspiration and the art
within them are in full-flow,
as if it were a sixth sense of mine
that I have slowly but surely
developed over time...
all my life I have looked at
the natural beauty of the world
rise like waves upon an ocean
and literally change the geography
of a well known place or monument...
all my life I have witnessed
something come from something -
and I have come to believe
that "nothing" is in fact a type of
"something" that we have not yet
given a name to, because certain things
are like energy and no matter what
they will always exist.

Looking for an answer to a question
that may have been asked for centuries
and expecting to find what has not occurred
to anyone else before, at least to me,
is not in any way a sign of madness -
in fact, I believe the art of being inquisitive
and never asking the question
"why create art in the first place?"
and just feeling this need to create
some kind of art is the most powerful gift
and the most fulfilling way of every artist.

My Poem “The Right Turn”

In times of crisis and confusion,
or at times of rest and relaxation,
everybody has the same people,
the same things, and the same places
to return to that have always had a way
of bringing them back down to Earth,
of settling them down,
of bringing something out in them
which has always helped to enlighten
and to illuminate a way to find
a sense of peace of mind.

Everybody either has a go to “something” –
good book, a favourite TV show,
a movie, a song, or a piece of music –
that always has this transformative
magic and power to be able to instantly
change a person’s mood
and even have an effect upon
how a person thinks, talks, and moves.

Everybody always seeks out answers
and wants to find simple solutions
to questions and puzzles
that play upon their thoughts,
but sometimes the most accessible,
acceptable, and easily digestible
explanations are hard to find
because sometimes you have to
firstly unlearn what you have learned.

Everybody always has paths
that they travel down that they
know better than others
as well as mental maps that they know
the landmarks of in such detail
that they almost seem ingrained
upon their brain like a tattoo,
because when the time comes to act
they instinctively know what to do,
how to do what they need to do, and who,
what, and where they need to be
to make the right turn.

My Poem “The Question that drives us”

Everybody has a question
that drives them which influences
every choice that they make
and every action that they take…
everybody has a question
that they need answered
in order to give their life meaning…
everybody has a question
that reflects what they hope
will be their ultimate fate…
everybody has a question
that is answered multiple times
throughout their life
which, for so many reasons,
some people sometimes find it hard
to accept and to believe
because they often find it hard
to imagine what they cannot see.

Answers are not always what people
find at the end of a journey…
possibilities are what most people
dwell upon when they reach
the end of a particular story…
most things in life that we commit
ourselves to are a matter of trust…
revelations are always powerful –
but almost always, in reflection,
no matter what we are doing
and where we are going,
it is the questions that we have,
the questions that we ponder upon,
and the questions that we are
consistently awoken by
over and over again
which are the source within our life
of what truly drives us.

My Poem “Alexa”

In this day and age,
we all have access
to knowledge and information
like never before…
at this point in time,
and at any time of the day or the night,
everybody can reach out,
touch, tap, and use their voices
to acquire the gift of a response,
the answer to a question,
the thrill of discovery and understanding…
doors that were once closed are opening,
access is finally being granted by the insightful
to those who always found it hard
being that kid at the back of the class
in school who was afraid
to raise their hand for fear of being
ridiculed for asking a “dumb question”.

Questions are important –
most of the time, in my opinion,
questions are more important than answers…
Questions, inquiries, wanderings,
looking, listening, and asking
why such a thing is the way that it is
and where something or someone came from
are the steps that need to be taken
by everyone with a curious mind
in order to stimulate and rejuvenate
wonder into their lives.

Our access to knowledge, images,
and multiple ways of communication
has never been so accessible:
we carry both the keys, the doorways,
the portals, and the windows
to the worlds within worlds
that interconnect the majority
of human life on this planet
in the form of mobile
receivers and transmitters
which we carry around with us
and we can interact with,
share a conversation with,
and inquire to,
which have become our guides
to a wealth of information,
inspiration, art, music, places,
and which have become
the artificial intelligences
that we use on a daily basis
to assist us in bringing order to our lives,
which we can even call to attention
by uttering a single word to awaken them –
such as “Siri”, “Google”,
“Cortana”, or “Alexa”.

My Poem “Artistic Heroes”

I am definitely no John Lennon,
Johnny Cash, David Bowie, Bob Dylan,
Michelangelo, or Vincent van Gogh –
however, they are some of the poets
of music, words, colours,
prolific and deep expression
who are among the members
of some of my artistic heroes.

I am no Shakespeare,
Stephen King, or Neil Gaiman –
however, I am also an author
and a writer who wants to
inspire, to enlighten, to entertain,
and to take the readers of my poetry,
my stories, and the characters
who I have written about
and described, on a journey
that they will never forget
which is unquestionably
a pure creation of my own
varied and constantly
curious wandering imagination.

I am no Albert Einstein,
Stephen Hawking, or Elon Musk –
however, I too think about things
and I wonder why things are the way
that they are and if there are
answers to the questions
that many people daily ask,
like: What is the true nature of life?
Is time-travel possible?
Who or what created
the universe, and why?
Will people one day be living,
breathing, existing, and communicating
every day of their life solely
within the illusion of a simulation?

At my heart, I am a dreamer…
at my best, I am an optimist…
at my most inspired,
I am a man without regret,
without reservation,
without any kind of fear of the unknown,
nor without any worry that
I will one day lose my life-long
obsession with discovering
as much knowledge and inspiration
from the depths and the frontiers
of this limitless universe as I possibly can –
and one day I hope that I will get to meet
all of my artistic heroes in one place
and swop stories with them
about the road that they all took
to get them from where their story began
to the place where they were inspiring
the dreams of many and colouring
the consciousness of the world’s
imagination.

“Imagination is more important than knowledge.”
– Albert Einstein

My Poem “Supernatural Obsession”

The thing about the universe,
the thing about the world,
the thing about life,
the thing about death
and what happens after we die
is that we simply do not know
everything that is out there,
nor do we know what is going to happen next…
we don’t know why any of us are here,
nor do we know what real aliens look like,
or why some people are haunted by ghosts?
So much is known about the world –
however, so much about life is still unexplained…
so much has been explored
and so many questions have been answered –
and yet there still remains fundamental questions
about the nature of life and what awaits us all
in our after-life that are constantly being posed
within someone’s brain.
Heaven? Hell? Angels? Demons?
What world awaits us and who should we expect
to find on the other side when it is our time?
Is where we go next dependent upon
if we have lived a life in which
we have been cruel, or if we have been kind?
It is existential questions
that drive our souls as we live our lives…
it is questions of morality that define
the stories that we tell one-another
that are the content of what we dream about at night…
it is our fascination with questions of the incredible,
the impossible, the unbelievable, and the phenomenal
that will continue to always spark to life
humanity’s collective imagination…
there will always be characters
in paranormal stories and adventures,
like Sam and Dean, who will be our guides
and our storytellers of paranormal events
and experiences that will continue to fuel
our long-held supernatural obsessions.

My Poem ‘Thirty-six’

So much has changed,
so much is different…
I still have the same name,
I still live in the same place,
and for the most part
I still have the same face –
but I am not the boy who I once was…
and, as I always do at this time of the year,
I am wondering to myself,
as I stare at my own reflection:
what about me has changed the most?

These days, I have brown hair –
where as when I was a child I was a natural-blond…
these days, I take journeys to many places on my own –
where as when I was a boy growing up in my village
the furthest away from home that I went
was down to the end of the road
and to the nearest duck-pond…
these days, I spend hours dreaming up new stories
and making up adventures for complex characters –
where as when I was a boy, I… I…
to be honest, I pretty-much did exactly the same thing –
but these days when I write something
usually I am writing from the experience
of having been through and having seen so much.

I have always asked questions…
I have always looked for the meaning of things…
I have always lived my life without feeling
burdened by other people’s expectations…
I have always looked up to the sky –
at the stars at night,
or to the blue-sky of a Summer’s day –
and I have always been awestruck by what I saw,
because every time I look up I am inspired,
and what follows is always breathtaking.

All life is about change,
about transformation, and about transition…
everyone’s life begins in the same way,
and from the day that we are born
we are all on our way
to the same destination…
all my life, my parents have been there for me
and they have given me more than a son
could ever ask for –
every day, my Mum and Dad are with me
and it is because of them that I am so blessed…
when I was a boy, I said a prayer and I made a wish:
I prayed to God that I would find my purpose,
and that while searching for the meaning of my life
I would find love and happiness…
now, I am an adult –
and, as I look around myself and at my life,
I can say with all my heart
that all my wishes and prayers have come true…
I can honestly say that my life has been one
that I would never have wanted to miss –
even knowing all that I have seen and been through,
I feel loved, and truly blessed to be who I am
and to have done all that I have done…
and I am still only 36.