Writing of the Week The Staff of Life

Writing of the Week The Staff of Life

‘THE STAFF OF LIFE’ means many things to many people. Here are some original  creative writing responses that go beyond a hunk of bread, from writers in SSOA’s 3 group meetups this week:

The Staff of Life

How do we regard life? Is this about fulfilment? Is it the meaning of life?

Do we have a soul? Is that our staff? Does the soul enter a lifetime on conception, or is it at the first breath?

Does it depart on our last breath? And does that explain out of body experiences while the soul hovers around to see if the body will survive?

Enough questions for you?

Six months before I was diagnosed with AIDS/PML the Aboriginal Elder Uncle Bobby shared some wisdom, which I consider could be the staff of life for me.

‘Stephen,’ he said, ‘everything in life is a gift from our soul. Don’t be angry with your soul for wanting you to grow.’

If this is so, maybe AIDS could stand for Assists Individuals Develop Spiritually

Sometimes in my ‘Sadness Overwhelm’ I find it difficult to tune into a sense of JOY. Or ‘Juice Of You’.

Maybe I’ll finally find that juice in quietening my mind and listening to the ‘wisdom of my soul’, as Uncle Bobby suggests.                                                                        Stephen Berry

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The Staff of Life

After seeing the film, ALL IS TRUE, at the weekend, you might come away re-thinking life. Or at least I did.

Shakespeare, perhaps, yes, the greatest playwright ever, wrote works we still flock to see today.

Such wisdom, complexity, humanity in his writing – and yet as the film shows us, he was a man who suffered enormous personal loss, namely through the death of his son, Hamnet. And Shakespeare could never really come to terms with his feelings as a husband and father.

Is there a message here? What does it matter if we conquer the whole world but lose those we love and those who show compassion toward us?

Love really is the staff of life, not fame or fortune. Our humanity is seen in our empathy for those around us.

Are we present for others, or like the tragic figure of Shakespeare himself, do we fail in our humanity to be there for others?                                                                             Meg Mooney

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The Staff of Life

There was a tree, an old knotted tree which had grown for an immeasurable time, it had been here before anyone alive could remember and it had been a big tree even then. It was battle scarred from encounters with many things unknown, some parts looked like old burn marks, some parts looked like aboriginal carvings or perhaps those of first explorers. It was not a huge tree, you could stand next to it and your hands could touch at the other side, at least to finger tips. But it was a tree of character, its twisted trunk and branches suggesting places where other bits had once grown, and there were knobs of sap and other bulbous shapes protruding.

Sometimes they would see two old aboriginal women sit under it and at other times a grey haired gaunt white man, skin pocked with sun marks. Sometimes children would come to it and play under it, sometimes climb the lower branches which made a good ladder. And then there were the birds that would come in spring to feed on the nectar and the bats at night that ate the hard bitter fruits. And just for a little while at the end of summer it would lose its leaves and stand as a gaunt skeleton before it would bud anew and burst forth into new life. The aboriginal women told him one day that its name in their language was the tree of life. He thought of it as the staff of life.                                    Graham Wilson 

Copyright: text Stephen Berry, Meg Mooney, Graham Wilson; photos unsplash & cvwilliams.

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