Open the door. Newspaper in the grass. Big headline about local basketball team. I decide to lie in the grass.
Don’t be sentimental.
When the frost hits my shoulder blades I get up, go into the house. Start a fire with the newspaper.
I like Paul. After the road to Damascus he understood folly. Christ risen is the most glorious and improbable thing. You can’t make good sense out of it. And that’s god.
(A thought while lying on the lawn….)
As for me….I’m folly too. And I make so many mistakes. But it’s the spiritual ones that matter. Poetry like god is improbable.
When I was an undergrad I found a couplet by one of my teachers, the poet James Crenner: “Life is like a game of chess /death is like two games of chess.”
I loved the wit of this and still do. For instance: If you checkmate death (a la Bergman) are you reborn or do you sit throughout all eternity waiting for another opponent? Does death always win? Does Jesus play chess? What about the effects of analogy, to borrow Wallace Stevens’ phrase, that is, since life and death are not like chess what do we gain or lose by saying so?
I really was lying on the lawn in the bright frost.
ABOUT: 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.
(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