“Timeless” – a review by Aria Ligi




Scott Hastie’s Timeless provides nourishment to a needful world


Timeless: the best of Scott Hastie’s poetry 1990-2020 is a collection from renowned English poet, Scott Hastie, spanning several decades. There are selections here from Selected Poetry, New Poetry, Meditations, Angel Voices, Threads, and Pranic Poetry. Hastie’s work has a conversational quality; these pieces address his reader, loved one’s past and present and in a manner endearing, questioning, insightful, and meditative. Indeed, the title Meditations for the third section is indicative of the themes expressed within. One can conceive whilst reading these, sitting on a mountain top, either as a lost traveler, or a cenobite from ages long ago, contemplating life, lost loves, friendships, family relationships, whether simple or complex and endeavouring to make sense of it all. Yet, for all of this, he does not leave his audience in a quagmire of anxiety but asks each of us to reach within and find the answers for ourselves.


This, of course, is no easy task, as every life consists of individuals connecting with a myriad of others, who weave in and out either for good or ill. How their roles affect us, from birth to death, is the very foundation of his work. This leaves one to ask, does the anchorite sit in his cubiculum and ask if he/ she treated his fellow man/ woman with kindness? And if not, does he/she ponder over past mistakes and seek expiation? Or does he/she feel that sense of antimonial superiority often associated with wealth and esteem? Hastie would argue, and rightly so, that in the end, the accoutré of the material world will not balance out if the work required has not been completed to achieve that aim; that the exertion adjured taxing as it may be, is not half as important as the result. He would postulate that how one lives and behaves towards his fellow man/woman will be determinate as to what the cost to the self, the divine anima, will be.


There are numerous early lines within this collection which we could use to extrapolate on this theme, and which are written with an evenness of meter that vivifies the text but let us start with the exquisite strophe: “Splendour sleeps in the thick still grey skies the steady muted glow of the sun, its sorry circle of gold highlighting the snow-covered, white-edged portrait of a winters’ afternoon.” The text, paints the day in dullness for Hastie apprehends the melancholia that can subsume and beseech us, never more so than in: “to kiss the fruit and caress the flower, to taste without tarnishing humble natures’ natural dower, in this sweet pursuit I shall place my frail body till death’s timely hour and doing so with only breath remaining to wish that amidst the winds of the world, it will not shake nor cower in the face of eternity.” His body here is frail, he is breath hypoxic. As he continues in another charming piece, how we: “grasp at what juices we can, to become part again of the very scent of some sodden truth, that can in its intensity outlast the seasons, the moods, and the melancholy” soon followed by: “after all, even on a sodden autumn day, the cruel thorn, of a bedraggled pastel rose, still has the polished jagged-edge that crimson blood could burst upon.”  Here are our mental frailties, which he is dauntless in facing.


While some take up their poetic pens to sculpt pictures of romance or scribe about the virtues and subtle souls in nature; he sees within us, those things which animate and, in some instances, contrive through chicanery to entangle and enthrall us with cunning pernicious means, and then with a pendulating voice, sometimes lulling and sometimes, vociferously commanding us to take action against the darkness. This is nowhere more pointedly drawn than at the end of New Poetry when calling on the spirits of nature and chthonic souls past and crossing the barrier from life, into nether realm, he speaks of how: “another casket of love has been split and broken; sweet liquors have trickled away forever. Sometimes, when I’m tired and empty, I tear through my head, like some mad reaper, searching in vain for faces, fields, flowers, lovers that are no more.” The flowers here, faces, and fields are of course bereft of redolence, greenery, and the faces that would be attendant have slipped away leaving the reader in a vacuum of silence, awaiting the final chord.


Meditations continues this motif; its ceaseless colloquium shifts gears, transitioning from inner reflections on pain to contemplating healing whilst the voices press on insisting, imploring us to go beyond the umbrian night, as in: “Here, illuminated, at last, nestles the ruddy glint of spiritual certainty; sweet moments of passion and healing, of sensual release.” Where will this take us? Hastie answers us in this regard so fervently: “a life however bravely spent, will always be jagged, incomplete, never far away from being enveloped in darkness.” Is he reconciling himself and us to living with pain, to accept that nothing can change? His rejoinder though gives us a dash of hope: “perhaps there is a clue here, a hint of something more fluid, more oceanic, a fugue state that makes more sense of all this, our pattern, our purpose, our struggle to be serene…” It is within that ‘fugue state’ he finds himself, that lies the challenge to find inner peace? It is telling that Meditations is the shortest of the sections, yet, the most overtly conscious in theme.


I confess on first reading Angel Voices, I was less impressed with it than either New Poetry or Meditations, for it has an ethereal and a more seemingly superfluous flavour than the previous two collections. However, that perception cloaks the value of its worth, for taken together, especially in this edited collection thus presented, we can see a seamless eddy, at first a minute cap upon a river, its white frothy head fomenting into a pond, subsuming to a lake and then in the act of acceptance, acquiescing in the warm mouth of the ocean’s glittering waves, surmounting the previous one in-depth and height.


Taken as such, and read with this understanding, without the passages here, the work and his thought process would seem incomplete and at its worst, jejune. The overture in Angel Voices begins thus: “And so it is for them, again and again… and now with only a dark empty, hollow, a feeble space of earth left in between. Such is true joy’s absolute certainty. Its slow-lit fuse that burns holes in the shabby shroud of death forever. Yet, in the middle piece he admonishes his reader! “let us have no guilt left to waste for dreaming still, and at the end, the light slowly peeps through, Hope glistens daring us to do so much more…” as he finds himself, as does his reader, amid his peregrination. The question is, where will it end?


Threads, one of my favourite collections picks up where Angel Voices left off. Markedly different from the previous four publications; his facile use of meter, precisely woven in the text, infuses each piece with an extraordinary agency, animating the poet’s and the soul’s quest for equilibrium. How he goes about this, is what makes this collection superb and is what I think poetry is all about. The reader is so affected by the emotive narrative and the means used, so gently employed, that what remains upon examination, is not the mechanics utilized, but the cynosure intuited therein. I would encourage any lover of poetry to purchase this collection and read it in its entirety. While I am aware that this is a review of the collection Timeless, I am not averse to plugging Threads as well. There are trinkets, treasures within it, I will put forth that to my mind more than exemplify my case. For example: “Your body, your spirit healing like warm stones…” One can see, at once, a creek its cool cataracts cruising around freckled pebbles in a glade, and the crisp autumn air biting your cheeks and hair, as in: “the smell of fresh rain, like gunpowder on the lawn, embellishes the day, as the summer rips on.”


We are traversing a journey, in which the traveler is aware, as he quizzically identifies: “A persistent, elemental energy that didn’t ask to be here, just is… and when it bursts forth ‘tis a wonderfully furious thing.” And yet, for all his questioning, there are moments of clarity which come in sudden flashes such as: “the purple light of divinity that we call God” elucidating further than: “for we truly are, as we come to recognize ourselves to be, more receptacles, gilded chariots that our spirits ride out, but for a hallowed moment in time.” That he cedes to the inclusions of life, the intangible truths of the body vs. spirit, the body being the host for the spirit, is that epiphany which comes at just the right moment and which leads us to the denouement in Pranic Poetry.


Pranic Poetry is the lengthiest in terms of excerpts and possibly the most exquisite. There is a multitude of lines one could cite, but in truth to extract them, would be like pulling a stray thread from a silken mosaic tapestry, the entirety would fall way leaving only fragments, not the whole, dismantling and dissembling it to the point of meaninglessness.


Where to begin then? While the poet seems to have found that longed for ‘balance’ he seemingly perversely comes to call it a farce, stating: “the illusion peacefulness improves everything.” Most assuredly then, he is alluding to the unsung voices, the souls of the many crying at the unanswering wind. He is not insensible to their pain. His pen does not falter, here, but is dipped in love and reverence: “so well before the time to slip away gathers much pace, so should we all endeavour to love, to leave the best of ourselves behind. And forever remember the need to be kind.” He reaches outward: “how blessed am I these days to be thus, when so many poor souls amongst us lead such lives of quiet desperation and die with their song still unsung inside them” Moreover he retains the metrical nuance he had applied in Threads, and with great purpose, for the results speak for themselves.


Whilst Hastie is a poet, and one who has journeyed within himself, he is cognizant of the outer world, of the tremors that threaten and disturb those outside of his circle, and more importantly, does not turn his gaze away, but reflects back, with his heart and pen. He sees what is around him, yet does not lose that which he has learned, and steels their visages, their plight, and their need for basic necessities within: “When I am as I am, my beliefs gather in strength like swathes of glorious flowers, with delicate veins of iron.” This is not merely the questioning poet, but the active poet, who at times unsettled by what he sees, maintains his sense of who he is, what he has been through, whilst still honoring those outside himself; referencing their, not so dissimilar experiences, and how they compare to the expanse of humanity. With a commanding, and yet loving voice, he puts forth plain truths thus: “Deep, deep down in our hearts, we are pure enough. Much as we first found ourselves, aren’t we?”


For without question, all of us in our darkest hours ask the inevitable, are we good enough? Are we kind enough? Are our hearts unblemished by the stains, and wounds that we have inflicted on others, and which we have received and which score our souls? Undefinable as they are, with Hastie, the answer is a calm, and resounding Yes…

Aria Ligi, Writer, and Poet, San Francisco 2021.











  1. Sherry Marr

    Wow, Scott. What an in-depth and comprehensive review. How fantastic! I especially love the questions Arai Ligi closes with…… ‘Are we kind enough’ is a good one to be asking these days.

  2. Mahnaz Mohafez

    I think Aria Ligi discusses here what a reader can potentially understand from Scott’s recent work Timeless in the best possible way. It is such a fair and inclusive review which I enjoyed reading.
    Thank you Aria and Scott for creating such terrific moments.

  3. John Rachel

    Thanks for this review. Cogency is not exactly in abundance on any topic these days. Most welcome!

  4. Lisa Miller

    Scott, that was a very nice review about your work; nicely said.

  5. Saideh Pakravan

    Thank you for sharing this lovely review and congratulations. I’m in a particularly bad bout of 2020 gloom and your serene, luminous words may be what I need to snap out of these melancholic rumblings and decide that things have not been all that bad during my decades of living.
    Best, and many happy days and years to you and yours, and of course Merry Christmas.

  6. Dr. Jelka Samsom

    This is an outstanding review and so is its subject matter. Thank you, both Scott and Aria!

  7. Banu Bidarkund

    As the title Timeless is apt to Scott Hastie’s work of decades, surely equally matchless is this review’s description and clear analysis of the Poet’s poetic musings within every aspect of our world. I find the reflection of both as priceless as can be… And I am really looking forward to read more of your poems, as your voice surely echoes in the ears of every listening soul like me…. Thank you Scott for being such a true friend to share your creativity with me, across the world.

  8. Margaret Nash

    Wow that is an in-depth review! good for you! I would have probably edited somewhat, as it really is long. Then would take out some juicy bits and spread them around a bit.

    Scott says:
    Thanks for your thoughts Margaret – whilst I accept that this is rather long compared to many reviews, my view is that all the threads Aria Ligi picks out here are key and so cogently expressed that they deserve fully unravelling in her expert hands. In truth I see it equally as a superb critical essay and not simply a review. There are echoes here too in Aria’s approach that are similar to the marvellous study of ‘Pranic Poetry’ that Nivedita Yohana produced earlier this year – if you remember that?
    There is still a post of that available here on the site, dated 3rd April

  9. I genuflect to Aria Ligi’s outstanding review of Scott Hastie’s Timeless: the best of Scott Hastie’s poetry 1990-2020. She illustrates how Hastie’s poetry is born of the melancholia that afflicts us all as human beings and which melancholia, withal, gets profoundly exacerbated by a culture so nihilistic it cannot give a reason to get up in the morning, except in terms of a market economy, which serves the needs of the body as it denies the soul. For Aria, at least in part, Hastie’s poetic genius consists in his sui generis ability as a poet not only to capture the wonder which every soul of depth fathoms before a sunrise, ocean waves, a flower, but also to convey, in deftly framed verse, the feeling of a deep sadness mixed with joy, that envelops our beings, whence the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge is once consumed, that is, that only poetry can transcend our inevitable mortality.

  10. Laura Bailey

    Dear Scott,

    Congratulations on the great review !!

    Thank you Aria and Scott… Wonderful to read !!

  11. Susie Reynolds

    What an amazing review written by Aria Ligi so fulsome and cogently written. After reading it, one cannot fail to want to read Scott Hastie’s new poetry collection, “Timeless” Thank you Aria for introducing us to such a splendid poet.

  12. Rebecca O'Donnell

    Hiya, Word Artist! Well, that was an accurate description of your Soul stirring stuff, especially in these dark times. Loved it. I’m so glad more and more people are recognizing who and what you are. You deserve this praise and much more.

  13. Munia Khan

    I have just gone through this amazing review Aria wrote on your excellent masterpiece. She has written in such an artistic and explicit way which gives such a thorough understanding of this work to all your readers. Excellent! You should both be very proud.

  14. Shari Roberts

    Thank you for sharing this review! This inspired and so carefully constructed piece of work had to have touched your soul just as surely as your writing touches our souls!

    We all write in hopes of impacting humanity the way that you do! God bless you dear man!

  15. A truly exceptional perspective on the poetry of Scott Hastie.

    I have also shared my own deeply personal responses to both of these, his most recent and moving collections, that are an accurate representative of his best work to date in my estimation. Needless to say that from the five-star ratings by all of those who shared their reviews on Amazon: not surprisingly so, the value that each reader associates with yet again these two fine compilations of Scott’s original works, are heartfelt, studied, as well as being passionately individualistic and emotional responses.

    The Scott Hastie signature delivery assuages the venerable tapestry of transparent yet artfully exquisite moments of a live fully lived, that leave the reader engrossed in something deeper than all that lies just beneath the surface. Truly beautiful evocative writing, fit for devoted consumption, line for line.

    Aria Ligi’s outstanding review is such a thorough and learned assessment that brings all this (and more…) seamlessly to the fore. Which is much appreciated by us all.

  16. Sunaina Sindhwani

    Absolutely agreed with every point made in this marvellous review!
    So well written and well deserved too!

  17. Sahar Tavakoli

    I also absolutely agree with all the beautiful details in the review. Scott so obviously writes each line after an inner journey with his soul and Aria Ligi has clearly felt that moment too…

  18. Jt Smith

    Life shakes us like a violent wind. Scott Hastie the ever philosophical poet of our times mirrors our own sadness, fulfillment, and the dreams which run away a long distance. He is eloquent as well as mindful. I learned so much of romantic love from his oeuvre. Aria is a delicate flower that germinates into oneness. I must concur, Pranic Poetry is the magnum opus of Mr. Hastie’s collection of wisdom.
    Splinters of Light feels like the culmination of all those decades seeking and wandering and wondering on the essence. I do hope more new writers can rediscover classics. We need to be observant. I implore you to scroll your emotions and pursue the ultimate Truth.


  19. Taking an appreciation of Scott’s poetic genius to a new level!

  20. Sharmishtha Basu

    Great review Scott! Your poetry is amazing!

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