Where a Horse Can Lead You
Where are you going?
I don't know! Ask the horse!
Harness hemming in massive muscle, the Clydesdale
tugs plow and farmer, his lead gentle, a bounty
bearing weight, knowing to keep strength within
bounds, knowing how to stop when hands let up
the reins to survey furrows of work laid bare both
on field and sweaty brows. The pair, still tethered —
as both will be roped one to the other till one
or the other passes on — heads up to the barn
just as the afternoon's light cracks off
at a distant head of pines, no need for more
than silence to hold them to their habit of pulling together.
Sleek and machined for speed, the racehorse takes
breaching knees digging into brick-solid shoulders,
the whip's flash against straining neck, next flipped
expertly to pure-bred haunches, the back and forth
rhythm for a hundred gold cups the goad, blinders
still on, the only goal now straight ahead to the finish
line. Running in circles, this hierarchy of man
pushing endurance of beast, crowds the fence,
flared nostrils sputtering, the one on top catapulting
to dirt and a tangle of legs splaying, the energy of
being lead dragging in a scuffle of dust, all bets off.
© 2011 Maureen E. Doallas
I wrote this poem in response to the Random Acts of Poetry prompt at The High Calling. The prompt is to write a poem representative of "gentle leadership" in the face of struggle.
A selection of posts will be featured at The High Calling on Friday.