The Fellowship of the Saint
by Ali Hussain Al-Ridha
AuthorHouse UK

"Too many memories have my wife
scattered in my soul,
And too many are of the laughter she
seeded in my dreams."

In the mountains above a village named Humbleton, a lonesome lakeside cottage rests among nature. This cottage is home to a man the villagers know only as the Saint, a man who visits them to answer the questions that plague them as well as offer wise advice to any who are eager to learn and listen. The Saint lives a life of solitude—not by choice but because his beloved wife died suddenly. When he finds the loneliness too much to bear, the Saint makes the short trek into the village and heads to the Temple of Humbleton, offering his sagacious insights to assuage the fear and concerns of the people. In a series of verses, the Saint reflects and speaks on issues of both the material world and that which concerns the soul.

With a unique narrative direction that opens and closes this book, the sermons of the Saint actually serve as a series of prose poems. The topics of these range from optimism and fear of the unknown to politics, war, and the existence of God. Each selection is presented by one of the residents of Humbleton assembled in the crowd asking the Saint about his or her concerns, followed by the Saint’s response in the form of a poem. Sometimes the questions break the Saint’s considered, stoic responses as he feels their weight personally. These small details create a decidedly human figure whose wisdom becomes more valuable and easier to relate to. Thoughtfully crafted and cleverly framed, these poems will inspire readers to do a similar examination of their concerns and apply the Saint’s guidance like a soothing balm.

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