REVIEWS for Threads
Oh, that mankind would love and finally understand each other…
This book is a true masterpiece.
Scott pours over every letter and syllable, breathing in their meaning conveying the essence of time itself.
What strikes me about his work, is that if humanity lived in tune with their souls as this, we would have an end to war, hunger and poverty. Mankind would love and finally understand each other.
The contents of this book are timeless and here is a significant wordsmith of the 21st century. I liken his spirit whispering to the sweet essence of Toni Morrison and the pieces are steeped in culture.
Life stood still for a while whilst I read this. Threads brings together the essence of our souls and at last gives meaning. I cannot recommend this enough.
Scott Hastie’s latest book Threads, carries a voice that negotiates with the spirituality lying dormant within us. The poems are embalmed with subtle imagery and a gentle language. More significantly, they essay a point of view – a view that is positive, hopeful, believing and healing. The poems strike a delicate balance between the surface of worldly exactitude and the depth of semantic humaneness. The opening poem goes like this:
We are anything but finite
After all the petals of proof
Are here in our hearts,
Are they not?
And however deflated
We might sometimes be,
Either by our own frailties
Or the cruelty of others,
– Inviolate –
At the core of our being,
The very prism
Of sanctity and self remains.
The landscape of Threads is compassion – a universe distinct in themes but tied together by the silken threads of empathy and understanding. Scott’s skill lies in bringing something of that beautiful place to the surface. His poems have the power to resurrect our battered, defeated souls. His art has the capacity to rejuvenate our sad little minds at the end of a tiring day and make us whole again to face a new dawn with new vigor.
Every new dawn is a flitter,
A speckled film
Of light and possibility,
Even the saddest
As nothing if not indefatigable
Creatures of hope.
Readers will relish the time spent in reading his enriched poetry. We, as the human race are all familiar with the complexities, struggles and challenges of life, Scott’s intimate voice will familiarize us with those elusive emotions called hope, triumph and dreams.
The perspectives that Threads offers are global- no matter where you’re from, these poems will bear meaning to you. They are unifying to the distressed mind by, sort of, building an international platform of delight and resilience. For long we have looked for the right words to shine a light on the human condition. – “The persistent, Liverish truth of our existence.”
Something that would soak up our pessimistic saturation…something that would recognize the genuine ray of sunshine filtering over all of us. For long we have wanted a voice. For long we have pined for cohesiveness. Threads is it!
A long line of enquiry
Inevitably riddled with mistakes.
As you may be now,
What a wonderful thing
It is not to be alone.
This ashen cloth
Won’t ever quite
Leave me be either,
Living as I do on a prayer.
But, as my eyes lift again
To the world,
I can at least be with you.
Threads constructs a new world for us. It invests itself in our happiness.
But be not afeared.
Wear any such scars well,
For every moment of suffering,
Others will arrive
That will instead
Pierce you with joy.
Open the doors of your heart
And they will come.
And for every cruel arrow,
Sweet caresses of delirium
To nourish your soul.
Scott shows us through his poetry how important it is to put aside all the nonsense and appreciate the small details of our lives and watch our lives be transformed as a result. He writes with craft, clarity and intensity… unlocking philosophies born from the very bones of our sadness to now greatly and endearingly please the heart. His observations are interwoven with the mundane and mystical. Reading these poems, one realizes that there is magic inherent in every living moment. If only we would stop a moment and perceive it.
Taken together the poems have the impact of a spiritual epic but without the heaviness… And individually they are a line by line commentary on the nature of life and the very existence of man. The poet vivifies the scars and wounds of everyday living but also unveils the transcendence inherent to our situation.
The garden of my life,
Much as I tend it,
Is, at best, my healthy soul
Though, all the while,
The continual husbandry
And sheer ennui
Of progressive adulthood
Beg questions still.
Especially whenever able
To revert briefly
To pure unfettered joy,
To childhood, in essence.
Itself, a sign
Of a far deeper wisdom,
Indeed Threads is appropriately titled for it binds together the extraordinary miraculousness of life. From Scott’s perspective, Happiness and Joy can be embraced, no matter how low we ever stand on the rung of defeat. The worst day is only a fleeting moment and the best is a radiation of higher forces conspiring in our favor, to be savored and cherished. A truly brilliant compilation of some soul stirring poetry by the master craftsman of spiritual verses.
This book refuses to be forgotten.
Vinita Agrawal, Award winning poet and writer – Mumbai, India
Scott Hastie has a hidden motive woven into the lines of this poetry. By ordering the images and graceful motifs of his work he creates an invisible chain, which leads his readers so gently through his sublime expression and understanding of new experience. He walks through the whole world with his poetry and touches the sensibilities of us all. Inspiring!
Sahar Tavakoli, Poet & Translator, Iran
Rooted in nature and the seasons , this collection is unafraid to speak directly of love eternal and the rebirth of us all as we experience life, with its many transitions. His poems cause one to pause and reflect, using our imagination to transport us to another place and time…. As we peek beneath the surface of an otherwise ordinary life. All the while, we travel on the path of life to get ‘home’ and experience raw human emotions contrasted with the eternity of the soul and all the hope it provides. Scott’s writing has a rare and lyrical beauty!
Carol Zielinski, USA
Scott Hastie’s delightfully lyrical poetry reveals an astonishing versatility and range of insight, where his spirituality becomes an ornamental grace. Via the generosity of his creative soul we come to appreciate how life is more than just life and love can become greater than love itself! His unique voice distinguished by wisdom, passion, erudition and subtlety, coupled with the telling profundity of his thoughts. The literary world owes him a great debt.
Scott Hastie’s Threads is one of his masterpieces which achieves the extra dimensions in literary world by expressing the life that is within it. Great poems like – ‘We Are Anything’, ‘Our Lives’,
‘Every New Dawn’, ‘A need’, ‘There’s An Intricate Chain’, ‘As We Toil and Spin’, ‘There Are Chapters’ here are the most concentrated form of wisdom and philosophy. His excellent use of splendid imagery throughout the verses evokes beautiful emotions by causing mental reproduction of sensations. His adoration for the great poet Dylan Thomas has acquired much sensitivity here through his amazing tribute poem. His love for nature appears to be fresh and original in the poem ‘The Kingfisher.’
This book is a vital source of not only the noble truth about life and love but also an explanation of surrealism which guides us towards this world’s reality. One of the chief purposes of his poems is to communicate poignantly a certain truth about our spiritualism- ‘Treasured Energies’ is indeed a powerful depiction in this respect.
This beautiful book of poetry is not a substitute for a sedative but its purpose is to arouse and awake us into life, to make us more alive…
Munia Khan, Author of Evince the Blue , Bangladesh
Bravo to Scott Hastie on an authoritative masterpiece that mends the heart, shifts the mind, and elevates the spirit. Every single verse provides ‘healing like warm stones’ that allow us to ‘repair our cracks with gold… And glow again’ Perhaps also find ‘some bejewelled purpose too’.
The spiritual journey of threads represents Scott’s best work yet and encourages us recognize: ‘a need to pause’ for rebirth, restoration, and reconciliation with self. He philosophically blends the heart and soul of words so that their wings may take flight into our hallowed domains. Thank you, Scott, for encouraging us to ‘feed with fury, flourish, burn our lives famously – then run like the wind’. I am running. And reading again…and again…and again.
Rochelle Soetan, Tuesday Morning Love , Washington ,USA
Reading and devouring Scott’s past books brought me to become an ardent lover of all he writes!
And his newest collection Threads has even more seductive personal overtones of such feelingly expressed joy and sorrow belonging to Scott’s fathomless soul written within!
This amazing book has such romantic overtones whilst still remaining so well grounded spiritually! Truly, his writing is like rare wine, becoming ever more precious and leaving you always greedily craving for more! perfecting them further!!!
If you are familiar with Scott’s poetry, you will just LOVE Threads – I promise you that!!!
Laura LaVeglia, author of Metamorphosis, USA
Like a dexterous musician who plays memorable music to his audience, Scott Hastie’s magnificent poems bring spiritual calmness to his readers’ hearts and touch them with transcendental light of wisdom..Scott’s words are meritorious, bespeak the universal language of kindness and make us think about the infinite power of goodness.It is always a pleasure to me to read what he devotedly pens.
Mahnaz Mohafez,, Student of Literature, Iran
In his soul stirring, sometimes poignant, sometimes dark, but always inspirational book of poems, Scott Hastie explores the archetypal questions all great poets face—what is the point of life and how do we make meaning of it?
“The day is done
And no one is immune,
That sense of a voyage
Slips seamlessly past,
Though there is a beginning;
An end to everything.”
Scott manages the difficult task of reflecting on death and its inevitability without giving into despair…
“And still the darkness
Waits for me,
As I know it will”
But rather he holds firm to the light within which will “… keep me safe and warm,
Till my own time comes.”
This light within is a joyous affirmation that inspires him to question
“What shines so bright within?
For nakedness of spirit
Is at the heart of everything.”
Scott doesn’t pretend to have answers but rather offers up an irrepressible curiosity about what life will offer next.
We still have,
Within our own control” he muses.
He concludes “Nothing is ever Ours to keep, Rather only to glory in For a while…”
“Oh that I had the strength
Every exquisite moment
And was able to do so.”
Scott exhorts us to drink deep and live life to the full. He explodes in a puppy-like enthusiasm to just ‘whirl and dance’ ‘be free and forget instead’. Existence is ultimately a series of experiences, of exquisite moments. Scott is a hopeless Romantic who flirts shamelessly with life and death while he urges his reader to live fully and to ‘Shine whilst you can, Without fear.”
He warns that
We choose instead
To become lulled,
To forget life shrinks or expands
In relation to courage showed.”
I shall pin that quote on my mirror.
Margaret Nash, Author, Hypnotherapist & Life Coach, Mexico
threads: journeying within the soul
It seems as if the world all around us is collapsing into a fen of racism, terrorism and underneath it all a current of xenophobia driven by fear. This is the poison within our societal well. Yet, in Hastie’s newest tome, Threads, he reaches into our fears, and finds, beneath it all beauteous rills of hope.
He asks us to be better, to strive for that, which is exalted, the great goodness within all humanity. This is not done in the guise of Priestcraft or demagoguery, but instead it is executed with subtlety and poetry. It is present in such as lines as:
Nothing that sings so
Can ever evaporate,
Burnt out of your soul
Here he is speaking not only of the revivification of lost love, but of the echoes of the heart. And indeed he finishes the poem by bringing us back and reminding us of the resilience within humanity, to feel, to long and to love. At the denouement of the poem he writes:
We too can repair
Our cracks with gold
And glow again.
Crazed by life,
More beautiful than ever before
The themes of love, rejuvenation, sadness, the ability to mourn and then repair what has been lost, are plangent within. In Here I am, he confronts dead on the fear that like a viper sleeps within us all:
For isn’t it true that,
We are capable of anything…
Yet he does not leave us hanging, but continues in a lovely stanza that not only captures what he is saying but is poetic and metaphoric without being banal:
The smell of fresh rain,
Like gunpowder on the lawn,
Embellishes the day,
As the summer rips on
And so we press on with reading not because we must, but because like a symphony it ebbs and swells, and within its culmination sweeps us up with orgiastic verve. There are treasures within that are little slices of life, such as the lovely lines:
If we always knew for sure
What lay ahead
Would we still stir
Each and every morning?
For me, my warm,
Soft sheet, snuggled erections
Are daily optimism personified,
Transitory stiffened dreams
Riven with hope
And it is hope that permeates throughout , yet it is a hope measured with meter that breathes, and has a real strength of purpose. It is not so much the grinding through of each day that matters, but the moments along the way. Do we share them with loved ones, or huddle beneath our blankets, cowering in fear? Scott Hastie asks us to take those moments and walk with him, dance the verse of life and thought and rhyme.
Aria Ligi, Poet (Temple of Love & Blood, Bone and Stone) San Francisco, USA
In Hastie’s poems there is an urgency to realise an “…ambition to touch the very face of God!” The burden of mortality never sings more frantically than in his cry “Needing love, We squeeze what we can From a fluid landscape Of life and light”.
The exquisite joy of life is juxtaposed against the ever-present spectre of death, the terminal journey of a short span of glorious days, through which a thread of gold tenuously links the known with the unknown or half-remembered. What to do with the knowledge that we are potentially so much more than our petty span allows?
“Inside every single, Obdurate, intractable skull Is an entire universe humming, Every bit as vast As the heavens above, From whence we all came.” Scientists Rupert Sheldrake and Einstein “the universe can be found in a grain of sand” would understand this dichotomy.
Why are we so much more than our physical lives permit us to be? Why are we cursed with “…the encumbrance of time in that race”. That race to realise our potential against a backdrop of ignorance and uncertainty. “Our lives A long line of enquiry Inevitably riddled with mistakes.”
It is easy to feel Hastie’s frustration at life’s limitations “It seems to me Our existence In this world Is one long string Of occurrence. A twisting, twirling skein Of patterns, of habit, Of chances taken And oft forsaken too.” How much have we missed through fear? Ignorance? Plain old fatigue?
And yet, and yet… through all the numbered days there glitters a single thread of pure gold tethered to a balloon called heaven. Despite the roadblocks, Hastie urges us all to “ Burn your life famously! Then run like the wind For the hills of Elysium.” And in the end he has convinced me that it’s possible.
Wendy Waters, Lyricist & Author of Catch the Moon, Mary – Queensland, Australia
There are sacred things that soothe my heart and mind when I’m troubled and the poetry of Scott Hastie is one of these. His inspired words give meaning to both the shadows and light of the past, present and future. He shows us that there is worth even in our pain, if we would simply take the time to look. Simply Beautiful….
Rebecca O’Donnell, Author of FREAK: The True Story of an Insecurity Addict, – New York USA
From his opening lines Scott Hastie affords us, the reader, a wonderfully meaningful presence among his words. Upon every page rests a profound beauty of the human condition and the spirit that guides our heart and soul.
Expressions as: “Healing like warm stones” employs responsive engagement through this poet’s vision, his perceptions of life as it touches us in fleeting moments, and again through: “Reaching out towards the improbable.” Therein lies the essence of this poet’s inspired words and a journey so well taken.
In threads Scott Hastie channels the marrow of being in its simplest, most profound terms with inspired affirmations of life and its giving. I was deeply touched by ‘Pause’ in which this gifted poet shares in his distinctly esoteric fashion:
“It’s at times like these
That I best notice
A bewilderment of gifts,
Treasures I never knew I had.”
Don MacIver, Editor, Writer & Poet, Canada
Threads – an academic review by Nivedita Yohana
Graced with the chance
To be here,
Even if only fleetingly,
Whatever comes your way
And, in so doing,
You uncover might be,
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,
A sense of the ancient
Hanging in the air.
A lingering spiritual fragrance,
Full of knowing,
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,
Even the saddest
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, Literary Academic, Amsterdam.
REVIEWS for Angel Voices
Angel Voices is a gentle reaching out to people from all over the world by the spiritual poet, writer and artist Scott Hastie. As life often plays incomprehensible games with our fragile hearts, how easily we tend to draw to darkness and despair. Scott Hastie ever so gracefully points to ways in which we can all find moments of lightheartedness and inner joy, despite the difficulties and riddles inherent to human existence. Angel Voices is the work of a compassionate and giving artist daring to travel deep within his own heart in order to find “clues embedded in swaying shadows”. He wishes to bring these to the surface, share his own experiences with his readers, so that they can make them their own. With Angel Voices, Scott Hastie does achieve this goal in the most beautiful way.
Dr Jelka Samsom, Holland
“Angel Voices is a brilliant, moving, sensitive saga about life and the forces that empowers us. It is so true to life’s expectancy and experience of any soul, and delicately crafted in threads of the poet’s beautiful imagination and mature understanding of our universe. I highly recommend this collection of poems by a well travelled and insightful poet whose works speak beyond boundaries, and is filled with glimpse of hope, love and a blessing to share for which Scott invites us all through his ‘angel voice’ to gather together in our hearts to connect, complete and celebrate our life.”
Banu Bidarkund, India.
Angel Voices captures the essence of life’s eternal quest for meaning through meditative reflections and transcendent verses that lead the reader from questions to mantras…. The new poetry featured in this book is both romantic and tender prose that touches the very depths of the heart.”
Shari- Jo LeKane Yentumi, USA.
‘Impressions’ – Angel Voices: the poetry of Scott Hastie
A review by Don MacIver
At long last author/poet Scott Hastie brings us the much anticipated Angel Voices, a tremendous compilation of compelling poetic verse, richly steeped in a life force that is a deeply personal examination of life and its living. His telling words are a creative testament to this gifted poet’s heart and soul.
Hastie writes of how: “when our souls are open connections occur” and indeed they do, as he shows us so beautifully. The poet’s compositions embrace wonderful transitions of metaphoric phrase that truly capture the essence of human purpose, spirit and journey. An eloquent and seasoned poet, Scott Hastie’s written verse is inspired, optimistic and rich in its delightfully spirited perceptions, affectionately nostalgic in its reflection and careful acknowledgement.
Angel Voices portrays an unassuming and remarkably engaging blend of sculpted word craft painting the most beautifully textured images in the reader’s mind, as though oil brushed on canvas, softly sensual and wonderfully spiritual too, in one’s own fashion. His writings are soulful expressions of innermost feelings of hope and desire for love, for life and its living that we can all relate to.
Among my favorite quotes here is his reference to an inner “sanctuary, sacred space to distill” which is wonderfully representative of the spirit and emotions experienced through his words and that treasured sense of connection that runs right through Angel Voices, like a golden seam. An evocation of moments past and present, the author’s voice speaks volumes to the human condition, our existence and cohabitation.
Perhaps the most powerful and impressionable of references within this outstanding collection of poetic verse is the truly inspired call to: “follow the very scent of our being”.
You are encouraged to engage in this, Scott Hastie’s blessed journey and to enjoy his extraordinary voice of enlightened poetic devotion that is sure to delight in Angel Voices.
© Don MacIver 2013; All Rights Reserved
Scott Hastie’s Angel Voices are gently calling to us that the meaning of life is to be found in the detail—moments of passion, of love, of enlightenment and understanding. A passing stranger in the street—the glimmer of recognition and attraction, old lovers, meaningful friendships—these moments of shiny pleasure stand between us and death, and give our lives joy and purpose.
Scott’s message, (the angels’ message), is to seize life when and where and while you can, in all its intricacies and glory. For ‘The time to consolidate such moments, Often hangs by a thread.’
His exhortation is to ‘Burnish your day whilst you can’, before you disappear forever. ‘This is the religion Of elevated experience,’ which Scott embraces fully and invites us to follow. The choice is ours: give into despair and meaninglessness, or embrace purpose, joy and bliss in spite of encroaching age and the inevitability of death. Scott makes the brave choice of optimism, and contentment ‘to love, to dazzle in the light, If only for moments…’ in other words, to follow his angel voices.
Author & Life Coach, Mexico
“Once again Scott Hastie has honoured me with the task of reviewing his collection of poems. I use the word collection deliberately because I see his poems as exquisite items that make up a lovely whole. Is there a theme? Yes, this time, Scott’s theme is hope. For within the diversity of subject matter and seemingly disparate views, one idea emerges: we are all brushstrokes on a divine canvas, intimately bound to our fellows and integral to an emerging picture.
And despite the lottery of our gifts, the thinness of our brushstrokes and regardless of being “fractured by birth” we are all reaching for the sun and in that reach inevitably there is an unfolding. Scott assures us that there are moorings in the melee – places of rest where we are free to pause and consider life’s portrait. One such mooring is the exceptional collection of Scott’s poetry and I would advocate a cup of tea, a cookie or two and thee, Scott Hastie.
Devour this feast and feat of words and be inspired to add a little lustre to your own brushstroke.
Thank you Scott.
Wendy Waters, Australia.
There are sacred things that soothe my heart and mind when i’m troubled: pine trees whispering on a moonlit walk, geese murmuring on the water, the smell of grass when I’m lying in a field on a summer’s day…and the poetry of Scott Hastie. His words are akin to these balms, giving meaning to both the shadows and light of past, present and whimsical future. He shows us that there is worth even in our pain, if we would simply take the time to look. Beautiful.
Author of FREAK:The True Story of an Insecurity Addict
In Angel Voices Scott has captured life around us with beautiful poetry. As wine perfects with time, so does this poet… This writer never seizes to amaze me, hitting the bulls eye again and again with another inspirational poetry collection. I would highly recommend this book for the old hand and the novice alike, because the selection of poems within are easy to read and understand. It is all quite lovely and one of the poems has already brought me to tears! This collection will be my regular night table companion, for sure!
Laura Laveglia, USA
Angel Voices: the poetry of Scott Hastie – A Review
‘Solving the Perpetual riddle of life’ by Vinita Agrawal
“How stubborn life is,
It clings like silver in our souls”.
Angel Voices is Scott Hastie’s third and most significant collection of poetry to date, providing definitive evidence of his evolved voice and enlightened philosophy. His hauntingly beautiful poems are reverently presented in this rich volume, without the appendage of titles – they flow freely like a river, carrying in their bosom the fertile alluvium of deeper meanings of life, unfolding with a relentless spiritual power that draws on the true colors of love, pain, hurt, grief, hope and optimism.
His words arrow straight into the reader’s heart, aimed concertedly at the soul. Look how he openly he admits:
“Already I ache for all the lives
I will never be a part of.”
And elsewhere, on mortality:
“Like the soft dusting of fallen snow on hollow bones,
On the already broken, spilt corpse
Of souls long since departed.
Strengthened by the certainty
That the light I cherish and hold dear within
Will instead keep me safe and warm,
Till my own time comes…”
And on questions of inspiration:
“Sometimes illuminations come to us
From a past so long ago
That to fathom them is a test”
In Scott’s poems we find benevolence, kneeling before us – assuring us of light, when all around is dark. What choice do we have then? Other than to be humbly shepherded into this divine space, sparkling with new a dawn. Angel Voices becomes a guiding star that dispels misery and despair. It is like a breath of fresh air, much as the poet himself who is self-admittedly:
“Endowed with a hungry soul,
That’s been enchanted to risk too much.”
Here is another illustration here of his lyrical voice:
“So to have been where you have been
And to still have joy,
Dazzling in your heart,
Now there’s a thing to make the whole world smile.”
“If you can be,
Be entirely naked – as one to another.
Not just in your body,
But surrender also
Every close kept need,
Your fears, all that you hold dear…”
Marry that to yet another verse and you have it all:
“And, once achieved,
Should the levy of age,
The passing of years
Ever tempt you to doubt it,
Just pause for a moment and feel
How such sweet pivots in time
Ripen still, even in solitude.
Like fabulous guests
Re-visiting a sun-lit porch
That has waited seemingly forever
To welcome them home again.”
There are 96 pages of scintillating, inspirational poetry in Angel Voices, a brand new anthology that is an artful collection of carefully chosen gems from his previous title – Meditations, together with the best of his most recent unpublished writings. Furthermore, his poems seem to have emerged after prolonged personal battles with the unpredictability of life and it’s hapless challenges. Scott’s gentle voice and his golden innate wisdom guide one carefully towards a greater acceptance of things as they are. Don’t let go of the perspective, his poems urge… Accept the travails of time, conquer your inner struggles, fight injustice, above all, be generous and open hearted and bow humbly to happenstance. Such are the treasures you can joyously re-emerge with, after diving deep into Scott’s perennially intense poetry.
“The searing light of morning
Asks unwelcome questions,
Fragile hopes soon blistered by daylight.”
However later, in a substantial and coherent expression of surrendering to the universe, he writes:
We squeeze what we can
From a fluid landscape of life and light,
Gifted to us but for a moment
In the grand scheme of things.”
And then further still:
“Born, fractured by birth,
Into this place
Of limit and misapprehension,
Seemingly doomed before we begin.
But our salvation
Is the element of precognition,
Glowing seeds of foreknowledge,
Eons old, we all still carry within us,
That just sit awaiting triggers,
Dormant in our soul
Every single moment we live and breathe.”
Scott’s poetry has the unique quality of turning bitter reality into a sweet pill that becomes easy to swallow, as he gives his readers the priceless vantage point of eternal hope. His soothing words can make even an emotionally devastating experience bearable, because they connect unerringly to an undeniable divine goodness. Indeed, positivity is at the core of his writing, which is always undoubtedly sanguine, buoyant, cheerful and idealistic – but never in an over the top, sermonizing way – but rather more in the form of delightfully delicate, knowing whispers…
See how he writes:
“Ultimately the challenge is simply
One of love and generosity
That brings all things together again.
Just to be open and joyful in your heart,
To have grace and compassion,
To trust that what people call God
Can be found in the spaces in between.”
One can only wonder at the source of Scott’s endless joy and his unhesitating imparting of the same with his readers. Perhaps the answer lies somewhere in the deep alleys of the human soul – that indivisible, indestructible channel of consciousness that strikes at the festering base of materialism and transcends human emotions to higher realms of peace. Indeed, it is likely that the poet has experienced transcendental human nature… How else does any creativity display such sage-like, saint-like wisdom? The USP of his poetry is its ability to inspire! Such sacred talent can only be saluted for it has immense practical value.
Typifying the inspiration available is this:
“For sure, on some days,
Fate may seem heartless,
As if acting with intent to interfere,
To punish, or to twist you away
From where you think you want to be.
But there are surprises.
Fresh hope, new life
Sometimes finds its breath
In just such a clash of expectation.
And, as stories of destinies retold
Often remind us,
Even in a cruel coming together
Of opposing forces,
Something rare and beautiful,
Something precious can emerge.”
Angel Voices does not belong to your bookshelf. Its real place is next to your pillow – for that spell of night reading that liberates your soul and unmasks your inner yearnings. These are poems you walk into and tuck under your arms, like exquisite blooms that solve the conundrums of life. And then, when the journey gets rough, you can simply extract them and absorb the succor they provide and move ahead again, fortified with a new breath of precious courage.
“Life, wherever it leads,
Will always be the same,
It begs for the best of you”.
Another choice stanza epitomizes this:
Instead a permanent path
That, once illuminated,
Goes ever onward – a way home…”
And others, offering hope:
“And still the darkness waits for me,
As I know it will…
And ever more avariciously still,
As it senses my journey comes closer to fruition.
I know in my heart it is a given
That I can never entirely banish
This spectre of the night,
It will always be beside me, as it needs to be.”
There are also poems here that are startlingly direct, like a jolt on the elbow just when you’ve drifted into a dream like state. Such poems are frank and more temporal, providing just the right amount of relief from the atmosphere of abstractness. But even these verses are cohesive with the basic theme of Scott’s poetry – which is that everything, whether man or nature, shines with an inner brilliance of its own.
“Just as, in perfect symmetry,
The emerging budded plant
Opens wide, toward the sun
And a stiff phallus will forever beg
For its home, for its comfort,
Deep into a soft inner refuge
So that it may speak, discharge itself.”
“Just as the frostiest of old maids
Secretly longs to tremble
With excitement in her bed,
One more time.
Or the pained young lover
Pitifully nurses a wound
That renders their heart homeless,
Mourning the loss of romance
Seemingly gone forever.
The truth is
Nothing that truly matters
Can ever evaporate,
Burnt out of your soul.
And however ready
We may or may not be,
At any stage in our life,
There will always be the chance
To reclaim our essence,
The shape we call our own.”
While dejection and pessimism have no place in Scott’s poetry, authenticity and a valiant inner searching always do… This is what keeps Scott’s poetry rooted to the reality of our times.
Two very metaphoric extracts embody this aspect of his writing:
“How barren is the vessel
That has no seed left within.”
And this :
“In the soft, sun baked sand
History between my toes.
Even the smooth stones ache
With stories of their own
In the shuddering light of day.”
Analytically, Scott’s poems seldom revolve exclusively around love. Especially not the slushy, superficial commercialised notion of love that so pervades our current culture. Instead, for Scott, love is both a divine and organic pulsating nerve that is knitted into almost all his poetry. It is grand in expanse, but brief like silhouettes in terms of its presentation. A remarkable artistic achievement!
His poems are fluid in form as well as in thoughts. He puts deliberate stress on the deep emotional connection of love, far above than the physical, lustful element. He vividly brings alive that first moment in which such emotions are successfully cocooned, rather than placing emphasis on the long drawn aftermath of any relationship. For Scott, love is nothing less than the instant conflagration of all senses – providing an all pervasive source of uplifting warmth that so beautifully creates inside us what he sees as vital niches, built for access later into what he identifies as potentially vast oceans of spiritual absorption and enlightenment.
Embodying this he writes:
“I am just like you,
Destined to play my part.
In the nature of my departure at least,
Some kind of sweet message behind
In the fathomless pattern I make.”
“Mislaid flame of tender emotions
Together we live to the point of tears,
I wouldn’t want it any other way.”
Scott’s enviable poetic skill also lies in his ability to express profound thoughts in very simple language. Rarely is his poetry didactic or pedantic – instead his poems are endearingly simple and transparent. Like these lines:
“I am sad, like the hot dust on the streets
And the music of fresh fallen leaves
Caught in a sliding summer breeze.”
It is easy to conclude that Scott’s poetry is born from the travails and tribulations of the business of living, but the lessons that he imparts are unlike that of any regular advisor or counsellor, instead more like an intimate dialogue shared with a special friend, who always offer their shoulder to the one in need; his words written like a confidante – in fact like everyone’s true soulmate… For just how deeply he understands the realities of life and, as acknowledges candidly in one of his poems:
“Circumstance toys with us all”
Nevertheless, Scott is also clearly a believer in destiny and his ultimate message to his readers, through his poetry, is to do whatever you feel you have to do, always with an open heart and as much honesty as you can muster.
Encapsulating this so beautifully, he writes:
“Give not honestly of yourself,
And you will corrode the core
Of much that matters.
Shine true instead
And you may well linger
In the light of love,
Maybe even longer
Than you feel you have a right to.”
Angel Voices is not a book to be missed! It can be read seamlessly by experienced literary enthusiasts and novices alike. And, given that rare quality, it is surely destined to sit not only on many personal bookcases, but also in the collection of every library, belonging to the great universities and esteemed literary institutions around the world. It is truly a milestone collection of timeless inspirational poetry, deserving of serious scrutiny from students and teachers of poetry, as well as readers from literally all walks of life, culture and faith. Without doubt, this precious little book therefore deserves its brilliant and well-earned place in the endless sunshine of literary immortality.
‘Angel Voices: the poetry of Scott Hastie’
an academic review by Niveditha Yohana
With several illuminating collections already to his name, Scott Hastie now offers us Angel Voices, an extraordinarily refreshing masterpiece that is his defining creative achievement to date. This new body of work succeeds in being deeply spiritual without being at all didactic and seeks to realize the ultimate goal of all mystical, philosophic paths through the everyday experience of love, common expectation, disappointment, hope and resilience. Most of all, it reminds us of the ultimate gift to mankind – the impetus to love, in spite of all and any rational reason not to do so.
John Keats, in his letter to Benjamin Bailey (March 13, 1818) writes:” Scenery is fine — but human nature is finer.” In Angel Voices, beautiful symphonies are heard from the language, metaphors, images and rhythm, all wonderfully penned by the poet. The pristine human soul can be heard loud and clear here, again and again. Hastie consistently keeping the language simple yet elegant, begins with profound wisdom of the ages:
‘Sublime moments refracted,
Even if only for seconds,
Caught forever in your soul…’
echoing Keatsian sensibility, looking to capture arresting, fleeting moments of life and render them permanently inspiring through art.
Angel Voices explores all the various hues of life, looking to fully resuscitate human consciousness. It begins in Age Gathers with the poet contemplating the ephemerality of human life, as if a delicate bubble:
‘Be content to love, to dazzle in the light,
If only for moments…
And then be gone,
With gladness in your heart,
Before the creeping shadows
Claim too much your sadness at leaving.’
Each and every poem reverberates with positivity, asserting the beauty and ambition of a human spirit that is capable of loving fully, but then also letting go when it is time to do so. We also find a shade of Samuel Beckett’s words here too: “Let us do something, while we have the chance! … Let us make the most of it, before it is too late! Let us represent worthily for one the foul brood to which a cruel fate consigned us!” Hastie very astutely takes his readers too into every fibre and every layer of consciousness, but with the aim of diving into the vast sea of human psyche and bringing us the most radiant of rare pearls to reflect upon. The poet walks us through man’s eternal quest to be fulfilled and content, firstly with a simple acceptance of life as it truly is and then revealing how, from this humble base, any individual existence can still go on to become so effervescent.
The poems encourage their readers to believe that, despite the temporal nature of human life, key memories and traces left behind are of permanent and enduring value. These experiences becoming engraved in our hearts, building an aura of gratitude, hope and real joy that gives us some chance of loving and smiling our way through the challenge of our eventual mortal departure. Hastie forever emphasizing how, in the physical dimension, the discussion of permanence and non-permanence can be entirely valid, but never in regard to other myriad dimensions. Asserting that whilst everything that paves our way in life will, sooner or later, have to leave us, the essence of these experiences can never be expunged, becoming part of us, part of our enduring spiritual being. What we do with the lessons learnt and sweet moments of intimacy and love lived, is then entirely up to us. And since our level of commitment is only a matter of choice and faith, Hastie tenderly suggests we therefore might as well choose to be grateful than to resent this opportunity. As in When in love the poet underlines this very thought with:
‘So that, just as the wise old Shoguns
With their most precious of porcelain vessels,
We too can repair our cracks with gold
And glow again.
Crazed by life,
More beautiful than ever before.’
The poet here is always looking to assert the eternal truth that all spiritual paths devote themselves to – namely “ the struggle to be serene” in a world of conflicting and stormy emotions.
In Busy city we are offered the following carpe diem thought:
‘For the briefest, sweetest of moments
To catch the eye,
To share a smile,
To touch the soul of a stranger
You may never see again.
This is as it should be.’
There is a seemingly inexhaustible positive spirit that shines through these words, recognizing the potential for an inner harmony that is instinctive. Together with a happiness that is wonderfully accessible to all, without the need necessarily to first scale some vast fortress of academic understanding and/or personal enlightenment. That is a key gift that Hastie’s own very special depth of soul, experience and learning seeks to unlock for us all.
Neither does this poet’s voice allow us to look away from death or have a euphemistic attitude to life, but to honestly accept the fact that life will soon be gone and therefore why not exercise our choice to still be generous and seek joy whilst we can? The very titles of the poems in Angel Voices themselves reinforce the crux of his message: What are we… On the high road… The perpetual riddle… Be you… However beautiful… And still the darkness… Sometimes illuminations … Life collects… Throughout Hastie invokes the need for us to see him first as a fellow physical presence and then artfully encourages us to begin to resonate and share his personal experience in the undulating, transient world of the spiritual and creative landscape that he seems to navigate so effortlessly.
Angel Voices ends with an astounding poem leaving the readers with a profound thought that shining hope lies in these very footprints of life. As Hastie surefootedly convinces us human nature is fallible, yet has an astonishing capability to learn and move on – not be suffocated with guilt, but to be revived by mindfulness, not to be perfect but to understand our imperfections perfectly, not to be arrogant but to have the humility and hope to be better human beings and for a better world.
So, show me the wonder
Of all you’ve seen so far,
Stretch the day to its limit,
And let us have no guilt
Left to waste for dreaming still.
Certainly, the Poet’s determination not to be bogged down by the storms of life will keep readers delightfully stimulated and inspired by his contagious optimism. This indeed is truly an ‘angelic voice’ that offers deeply rich nourishment to any sensitive and seeking soul. For here Hastie has overwhelmingly succeeded in capturing the eternal truth of mankind, by defining its glorious and ongoing hunger to distill something beautiful that death cannot ever capture. And all this is stunningly achieved utilizing common experiences, which will be reassuringly familiar to any of its readers.
Angel Voices creatively provokes us to rethink life, from a different perspective and on a higher dimension, through a certain level of detachment. It traverses the boundaries of cultures, faith and belief systems converging to the confluence where the spirit of humanity meets. This is truly enlightening, inspiring and beautiful lyrical work which captivates the pulse of the readers. Angel Voices is sure to stand the test of time and takes it rightful place in the global pantheons of poetic and philosophic literature.
Niveditha Yohana, Research Scholar, University of Mysore February 2014.
REVIEWS for Meditations
“The most that poems can do is inspire us in ways that can change our lives forever. The least they can do is provide us glimpses into the poet’s mind, its subtleties, its comprehensions and its sensibilities. The thing with poetry is that the ‘least’ aspect is always there, it is a given. Poems always provide a window to the intellect of the mind that wrote them. But rarely, very rarely, do they afford a look into a heart overflowing with words, very rarely do they take us on a journey of the soul and very rarely do they expose, without reservations, the delicate wounds inflicted by time on the poet’s psyche and its resurrection thereafter. Meditations by Scott Hastie does all that and more. Pick up this book and you risk being changed forever!
Scott Hastie is astride the winds of divine inspiration in his latest collection with poems that are deep and filled with positive notes, like precious emotional crutches for those moments when nothing in life seems to be looking up.
The poems seem to be drawn from the depths of universal wisdom, brilliantly sorting out the spiritual from the mundane, the eclectic from the monotonous and the obscure from the obvious.
In a poem titled, When in Love, he writes,
However ready we may or may not be,
And at any stage in our life,
There will always be the chance
To reclaim our essence,
The shape we call our own.
For, once spun,
The silken thread of all our aspirations
It can never be broken.
And, with courage, even a trail of tears
Will always lead us back
To where our fractured heart longs to be
Reading Meditations is like drowning in a sea of words and surfacing with treasures of meaning at every breath.”
Vinita Agrawal INDIA
“There is still an ongoing debate as to whether poetry is too elitist. When reading Scott Hastie’s poetry, this question quickly dissolves. How exquisitely refined and subtle the language he uses, yet how accessible it is, at the same token! With a philosophical, sensual and spiritual eye, he paints with tender pencil strokes the questions our daily lives confront us with. Scott’s new collection Meditations offers us a very beautiful and valuable focus on a spiritual perspective to life and consistently reminds us of the alchemy of the unexpected.”
Dr. Jelka Samsom HOLLAND
“There is a new book coming out of rural Hertfordshire, England. The writer, Scott Hastie, has presented here a panoply of beautiful and inspirational verse. Each poem, in it’s own way, is a reflection of the writer himself. A man of peace and reflection, Scott Hastie has summoned up a lifetime of knowledge and distilled it into a beautiful volume worthy of placement on any serious poetry lover’s bookshelf. His reflections on our place in the Universe, being humbled by the glories of Nature, simple admiration for the journey of the human spirit and the contemplation of simple objects into wonderful works of art reminds me of the finer works of Gary Snyder and Robinson Jeffers. But here there is an even added layer of modernity that makes these poems in Meditations more relevant than ever. I highly enjoyed these individual pastiches of rumination and would also highly recommend them to any future reader.”
Laura Bailey President Greenwich Books USA
“A close kept secret wand of words and wit that summon the soul … to paraphrase Scott Hastie’s own words. Such is the power of Hastie’s poetry he captures moments that would otherwise slide away in the slipstream of life, ideas that remain unpondered in the domino days and blank nights of normal life… His world is one in which the soul argues for purpose, reason, explanation and I think the poet Hastie argues against his own doubts and, within that inner dialogue, his coined lyric prose persuades … Maybe not ever quite his restless self! But certainly his readers… Perhaps, after all, it is best that Hastie himself remains forever uncertain, always chasing that illusive butterfly called the soul for his beautifully woven fragile net of words capture our imaginations, agitate and thrill the very spirit within that he chases ever-gallantly on our behalf and for our illumination.”
Wendy Waters AUSTRALIA
“Scott Hastie weaves poetic prose with words of wisdom and love like a finely tuned instrument to bring new understanding to readers of all ages about themselves, their relationships, and the world in which we live. Reminiscent of the transcendental qualities of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Hastie is clearly in touch with natural beauty and individual expression. For Hastie, life is truly a gift to be appreciated, even if we see it through different lenses; and he inspires faith in the possibilities of becoming more than ourselves, in the goodness of others, and in all of our precious potentials.”
Shari Jo LeKane-Yentumi USA
“I was delighted to read Scott’s new book, Meditations and so while being acquainted with his work, was happy to further discover this lovely volume. From the beginning: One has the feeling that they are setting foot within the poet’s realm and vision of life. His many insights ask us to ponder the connectivity ourselves to one another: “ Not damage for its own sake, But an attempt to sever connections, To abandon convention, obligation. To escape pattern.” To : “Two souls clinging on tight To an endless arc of solitary dreams, Illuminated only fitfully by love and loss.”
To his biographic poem entitled “Sylvia and Ted”
“I can imagine that, Before she left him, They might have often sat indoors, Hidden away from the awful truths They had uncovered, Watching the heat from the fire, Cast in germ-like shadows, Rise slowly up the wall.”
And his sweet homage to Marilyn Monroe:
“Wounded? Yes, hopelessly so. But with a soul that, despite any indignity, Remained stubbornly luminous.Radiant, sparkling, Diamond-lit, effervescent. Such a glorious woman, But no ingénue, Who somehow, it seemed, Already felt and knew too much of life.”
Each stanza will resonate with all who partake of them.
“Remember that everyday you still awake, With good fortune and opportunity, To the gathering warmth of a new day.”
His poems are not only packed with insight, but steeped in undertones– layers of meaning and truth. This is a volume to read and then re-read at leisure, because there are so many jewels sewn within.”
Aria Ligi USA
But once in a very long time we are blessed to have discovered, sometimes quite by accident, the writings of one we come to treasure as we do life itself, words upon which we become lost in the moments of reading, of absorbing, of embracing… Scott Hastie is one such author of words, a poet of grace and distinction who lays out his words on a tapestry of floral deliverance, heart sounds of letters, words and lines embracing life in a seemingly symmetrical balance and embodiment of souls.
Habitually, as a writer and poet I am forever exploring the writings of those who share the beauty, elegance and tapestry of our language, its interpretations, its remarkable depth and the emotional connection that is realized from the far reaching dynamics of poetic verse.
I came upon the writings of Scott Hastie some time ago now and am forever touched by this poet’s sense of our gift of life. Scott shares his passion for the written word here by offering that his “focus is to share light and hope, creatively and spiritually, to seize and celebrate the extraordinary opportunity of being alive.” Indeed, Scott Hastie has bejewelled the many splendours of this world and our brief yet remarkable time on this earth.
Experience his words here. Engage in this man’s heart sounds through the pages of Meditations, words that bring together heart, mind and soul, timeless verse that transcends the human spirit, uplifting and inspirational in its delivery. Experience… Scott Hastie’s journey in verse.
Don MacIver Canada
In Meditations, Scott Hastie Gets It…
Yes, he does. Scott Hastie ‘gets’ his readers–the depths and heights to which emotion and reason can rise and fall, the triumphs and troubles. . .
In Meditations: New Poetry by Scott Hastie, this Hertfordshire, UK based poet understands and speaks to the whole of the human condition. And by ‘getting us’, he gets it right. Does he ever. In personal works as finely spun as gossamer we see, not the poet, but ourselves. It’s a fine balancing act, yet blindfolded and without the benefit of a net, as it were, he executes each passage flawlessly, again and again.
It’s a question of unseen attention to detail. For instance, although this may seem a small thing, I feel it safe to say among readers of poetry that there is something in the touch of a fine volume that comforts in ways that an e-book cannot. What you’re feeling, literally, affects you as much as what you’re feeling, figuratively. In fact, this is one of the most beautifully presented poetry collections in paperback I own–from slipcover to typestyle to broad, generous margins–the stock’s creamy thickness and texture are exquisite and it’s a rich pleasure to turn its pages. Meditations is also a pleasure to reach for late at night. It’s a volume that lends itself to this. Deceptively simple yet deep in dancing archetypes, let a poem or two accompany you into your dreams.
In ‘Sylvia and Ted’, while acknowledging the harrowing turmoil and tragedy that defined the lives of Plath and Hughes, Hastie conjures a dancer’s joyous pirouette, this image giving of itself while compelling us towards the comfort to be found in the moment:
“Be content to love, To dazzle in the light, If only for moments… And then be gone, With gladness in your heart, Before the creeping shadows Claim too much your sadness at leaving.”
Meditations: New Poetry by Scott Hastie is a work that will find its way into your heart, its words turning and returning–as you will to them.