Letters of Blood by Göran Printz-Pählson
for Jesper Svenbro
“Here I am, an old man, being bled by a nun”
would be one way of starting this poem,
unless it didn’t sound too much like a quotation.
But in this a poem, or a book, or a parabola
of the arrow, is at one: it doesn’t matter overmuch
how it starts, it is the end, although
predictable, which is at stake, the founding
of the monastery, the killing of the fallow deer,
the blowing of the horn, and all heroic antics.
And where the arrow falls there is a
legend: “Everyone is entitled to have
one puzzle waiting, if he is
arrogant enough.” Phlebotomy
was for a long time the only
regimen of the pharmakoi:
scapegoats stochastic at their checkered sports.
History has many canny spoors.
Nowhere else is syntax so close
to the angry syllabics of the track,
patterning the snow with countless decks
of playing cards, first black, then red.
This is the patience, the true game of patience
of the wolves...