AWAKENING - The Cycle of Hope Comments by literary reviewers and editors

AWAKENING: The Cycle of Hope.

Dear Stephen,

Although Covid has left me feeling rather listless, today, being a lovely sunny day, I was able to sit outside and read 'Awakening'. I found it  both a moving and perceptive read. From time to time a line that you had written leapt from the page-‘Judgement compares, it does not value love’ or ‘A barren mind is a well of promise’. 

‘I have frequently said that good language like good music has the capacity to breathe harmony into the soul. In 'Awakening' you, the author, through the careful use of language, touch the hem of mystery. 

We are drawn to seek for harmony within ourselves, with our neighbours and with the environment of which we are a part.
'Awakening' sounds a message of hope to a world that is frequently in despair.’

Terry Waite CBE

* * *

Here is a short and very original book which seems extraordinarily relevant to the current climate – in all senses of that loaded word. The author, Stephen Feltham, embarked on the choppy sea of adventurous thought, hope and fear which is so pertinent to our era.  We are filled alternately with fear of what is coming and hope that mankind will see a way through.

Those who are familiar with Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet will find themselves very much at home with both the content and the style and, like many of us, grow to embrace and cherish the mystical loveliness of the concepts expressed therein.   The accompanying music will be appreciated too although the book can also stand on its own as a guide to contemplation.

It is a work not to be rushed through; rather we should allow space and time to meditate, to appreciate the profundity of the thought behind every section. Reading it too quickly will detract from the beauty of the ideas, the depths of their meaning, sometimes obvious, sometimes obscure or, as with many other spiritual writings, just hidden awaiting the understanding of the reader. Words flow, surprising one with their connections.

Essentially a cyclical journey through the natural year, with all the sublime and subtle changes which manifest annually with their challenges and rich opportunities.  A book to treasure and return to again and again.

Rosalind Smith
Former editor Towards Wholeness

*  *  *

Steve has wrestled for years with philosophical ideas relating to his own personal beliefs, and to beliefs in general. There is a general school of thought – increasingly widespread – that seems to think that all beliefs ultimately lead to the same destination, and that it is judgemental to predicate one belief as superior to another. Such a position, of course, denies the concept of ‘truth’, and leads one to ask: if all roads/beliefs lead to Rome, then why bother having a specific belief? Why bother being a Quaker or a Catholic, why not be a Jehovah’s Witness or a Buddhist or an atheist? It makes no difference, does it?

But such folly is not for Stephen Feltham. Beliefs have consequences, big consequences, and lead to alternative destinations. In his new book he firmly establishes the centrality of the belief, imagination and the world of nature as the foundation of all that is wonderful in this world and that might manifest in our lives. Ingeniously, we find three characters Aspirant, Savant and Attestor who in various ways witness to the truth. Everything is in harmony with the seasons, and we enter an exploration of their meaning in some poetry that is formal, powerful and lovely. That all this will be set to music makes it all the more beautiful.

I strongly recommend this collection and hope it receives a wide audience. Stephen Feltham is a poet who is helping to restore poetry to its true and proper classical form and function.

James Sale
Regular feature writer on poetry and culture for 
New York's international The Epoch Times