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”.

My Poem “The Modern Mythology”

Every mythology has stories of heroes and villains…
every tale ever told that has survived through the ages
lives on because they have a moral truth at their heart…
every religion that has attracted followers to its teachings
has fundamental rules that are expected to be adhered to by,
and which are staples in the life of,
any person with faith in what their
religion’s holy texts tell them is essential…
every mythology is filled with individuals
with super-human abilities that allow them
to change the world around them…
every mythology has an origin story
that explains where the world
and everything in it came from…
every mythology has a creator as its figure-head
who is prayed to and worshiped so that they
might bless their believers
with miracles and gifts of good fortune…
every country has their own cultures
who have their own individual mythologies…
every era of history has intertwined with it
modern interpretations of old tales
that fit into the events playing out
all around the world that are documented
in so many modern ways…
even in this day and age,
there are stories being documented –
on T.V., in films, in newspapers, in literature –
in the posts that people share on social media –
of people endowed with power who don’t know
how to wield the influence at their fingertips,
as well as tales of heroism
and rebellion against oppression…
creators create mythologies every day –
in comic books, in novels, in urban legends,
in technology, on television, in art,
in architecture, in structures built
with a specific purpose that are meant
to be draw people to them so that they can admire them –
that slowly enter the lexicon of our society…
our world was built upon, and continues to thrive,
because of the stories that combine together
to make the tapestry of life
that is our modern mythology.

My Poem “Poetropolis”

A city is like an ocean…
From high above a city looks so calm,
so beautiful, so shiny, so peaceful –
no matter if it is seen at night or during the day…
From far away a city shows a version of itself
that is but one of a multitude of masks that it wears
to entice visitors to it –
however, it isn’t until you
descend deeper into any city
and you are walk it’s streets,
which are in essence the veins and the arteries
of this ever talking, ever changing,
ever evolving man-made organism,
that you begin to see the side of a city
that can only be witnessed the more that you look,
the more that you listen,
and the more that you take in
that which makes every city
the dichotomy of light and dark that it is
of the visible and the invisible,
of the advertised and the disguised –
but there is always something about every city
that makes it stand out as a place
that people need to visit,
whose treasures to be found within cannot missed…
Every city, like an ocean, is made up of
those who inhabit it
and those who populate it,
and the more that you get to know
a city’s many intricately complex people
who are woven into the fabric
of a city’s multicoloured
and multifaceted tapestry
the more that you will see
the varying loose threads
and the stitches that when sewen together
make for an inspiring metropolis of poetry.

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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