leeching with wordsworth


“I saw a Man before me unawares: / The oldest man he seemed that ever wore grey hairs.” This was not the Lake District, but in this busy market I thought of William Wordsworth’s “Resolution and Independence.” Facing these tiny barrels of leeches and their keeper, all I could think of was the Romantic’s leech gatherer. Several hundred leeches writhed. They gathered like a black belt round the middle of each container, near the water’s surface. A few ambitious leeches left the waistband, inching their way toward the lid; a few fell from those curving heights to the bottom of the barrels. “Prof. Dr. Sülük,” it said at the top of every placard, and beneath those bold headings were lists of ailments of almost every sort: from migraines to fungus, eczema, rheumatism, and even cellulite. The leeches, then, were medicinal.

more from Casey N. Cep at Paris Review here.