An academic review of ‘threads’ by Nivedita Yohana


Graced with the chance

                  To be here,

                  Even if only fleetingly,


                  Whatever comes your way

                  And, in so doing,

                  However enchanting

                  Any treasures

                  You uncover might be,

                  Their loss

                  Should never be your concern

Scott Hastie’s poems in his sparkling new collection Threads are witty, chatty, sensitive, solicitous… Like a loyal friend and brother conversing, as a sympathetic observer of folk and the world about him. A sagely philosophic commentator on his own poetry, on questions of life, and indeed on some of the vexing, unsolved problems of existence. His poetry shows him as a lover, a sage, a mystic; but above all just another human being fearlessly exploring every possible dimension of a spiritually evolving soul.

Whenever you can conjure

                  The stillness to notice,

                  There is

                  A sense of the ancient

                  Hanging in the air.


                  A lingering spiritual fragrance,

                  Full of knowing,

                  That dresses

                  Contemporary journeys

                  Like ours.

Scott’s poetry engages a meaning-making process that underpins our understanding of the world more broadly and he is simultaneously creating and investigating this meaning. Creation entails something new, never before considered, investigation entailing something that already exists to be investigated. His words therefore sit on the precipice of a paradox, threatening us with a relative state of weightlessness and quickened understanding. Scott’s poetry is not abstract philosophy, but grounded in our bodies; the “metaphors we live by” extend from our physical experience with each other and the world around us.

Scott has always been a man of few words and his every word certainly speaks volumes:

That sense of a voyage

                  Slips seamlessly past,

                  Though there is a beginning;

                  An end to everything.

The reality is so eloquently put – deeply philosophical and spiritual in this deceptively simple extract. We can also consistently see a metaphysical fervor – in the notion of “Carpe diem” which looms so large in his poetry. The gathering in of moments of life that are so fleeting, suggesting the ephemeral quality of life, as in Robert Herrick‘s “To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time,” which beseech readers to live life to its full potential, singing of the transitory nature of life itself:

Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,
Old Time is still a-flying;
And this same flower that smiles today
Tomorrow will be dying.

We all have our own voyage to carve from the moment we enter this world and death is always our shadow. However Scott is never shy of cajoling all of us to seize every opportunity and live moment to moment to the fullest… To capture it in our being and then reiterate the process so as to derive on going nourishment for the soul on its voyage. As the law of nature goes, all physical entities have to die and come to an end, but not the soul which the poet shows us forever needs to be replenished, unabating with life’s zest.

In “Every new dawn” his readers are showered with abundance, optimism and positivity, showing us the way he feels life is best perceived:

Every new dawn is a flitter,

                  A speckled film

                  Of light and possibility,

                  Upon which

                  Even the saddest

                  Amongst us

                  Re-materialise daily

                  As nothing if not indefatigable

                  Creatures of hope.

Here there is ineffable and perennial belief in life in these challenging times, coming from a sensitive and knowing soul. His words scream of unrelenting hope and repeated emphasis on the importance of freedom to an individual’s intellectual and spiritual development. Freedom to make choices- the choice to be happy, the choice to keep things simple, the choice to say “yes” to life and the choice not to let your spirit be dragged down.

The precious insights gained by reading Scott’s words are powerful enough to be a surrogate of the human experience itself; the same embodied processes that make human experience meaningful make engaging in this, his poetic experience, almost as meaningful! The philosophical nature of his words building so profoundly on this poetic perspective and very specifically too, with the gathered knowledge of human experience. Scott’s poetry has real moral and social value.

In the concluding poem to threads, “Some say” Scott certainly doesn’t spare his words, passionately calling out to all of us to grab a life that’s filled with true spirit and to maximize its vitality:

Feed with fury,


                  Burn your life famously!

                  Then run like the wind

                  For the hills of Elysium.


When he says “Burn your life famously!” the poet’s intention is to reflect the soul’s constant rejuvenation – the cycle of birth, death and resurrection, just as the metals are purified in the fire.

Via love’s powerful energy, life’s vivacity and all its limitations too – delightfully encompassing such a broad range of subject matter, styles and moods, Scott beautifully leads readers by hand embracing them in such sweet pearls of wisdom. This a long learnt and carefully meditated level of being from an inspired and beautiful writer who has truly lived. Individual experience so keenly observed, with every fleeting emotion most passionately felt in his ongoing preoccupation with such themes as nature, mortality and indeed the supernatural potential that surround us all, but that we knew it!

Nivedita Yohana, Post-Gradute Doctoral Student of Literature, Amsterdam.


  1. Mahnaz

    I enjoyed reading this review.Thank you,Nivedita!

  2. Paulos Ioannou

    An excellent presentation that enhances the pleasure of the poetic

  3. A most impressive literary assessment and interpretation. Scott, your writings are really quite exceptional; the reading experience a reciprocal exchange.

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