What Does It Avail?

Only Bread, Only light

Hope is the thing with feathers. And then, wind up, clear skies, hope is the horse who rolls in mud. If you’re looking for optimism don’t forget the mud.


You say to a child “I’m glad you’re along with me” if you’re a loving parent. You stop a lot and admire the simplest and oddest things.


I had a dream last night with Abraham Lincoln in it. He floated there like a balloon. He was, as in life, sad and kind. I woke happy. That’s the thing: I woke happy to think of Lincoln. And I thought of Walt Whitman who loved Abe. And I was happy to think of Whitman.


I’m a Christian. Lefty Episcopal. No one thinks of happiness as a Christian ingredient. But I’m happy believing in sacrifice and meaning–ultimate meaning. In this way I imagine satisfaction in serving others. According to a couple of geneticists I know, I was born this way. “Exactly,” I say.

Stephen Kuusisto and HarleyABOUT: Stephen Kuusisto is the author of the memoirs Have Dog, Will Travel; Planet of the Blind (a New York Times “Notable Book of the Year”); and Eavesdropping: A Memoir of Blindness and Listening and of the poetry collections Only Bread, Only Light and Letters to Borges. A graduate of the Iowa Writer’s Workshop and a Fulbright Scholar, he has taught at the University of Iowa, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, and Ohio State University. He currently teaches at Syracuse University where he holds a University Professorship in Disability Studies. He is a frequent speaker in the US and abroad. His website is StephenKuusisto.com.

Have Dog, Will Travel: A Poet’s Journey is now available for pre-order:
Barnes and Noble

Have Dog, Will Travel by Stephen Kuusisto

(Photo picturing the cover of Stephen Kuusisto’s new memoir “Have Dog, Will Travel” along with his former guide dogs Nira (top) and Corky, bottom.) Bottom photo by Marion Ettlinger 

Author: skuusisto

Poet, Essayist, Blogger, Journalist, Memoirist, Disability Rights Advocate, Public Speaker, Professor, Syracuse University

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