Thursday, June 27, 2024

Team Leader

In the horse languages,
Thousands of years ago,
They made a metaphor.

The domestication
Of horses, after all,
Isn’t just the riding,

Although that’s image
Uppermost—the centaur,
The warrior on horseback.

Full domestication
Means coordination—
Can you bundle your beasts,

Get them to follow you,
Align in directions
You point them, sync in groups?

So, along with riding,
Forms of the verb, to lead,
Became linked to horses.

Words for bridle were made
From the verbs for leading,
And bridle came to be used

As a metaphor for lines
That linked and controlled, steered,
Coordinated groups

Of humans themselves—lines
Of descent, lines linking
Extended families

And fictive kinship groups.
So, for the horse peoples,
Human society

Kept that ghost metaphor
Of the bridle, steering,
Signaling, aligning,

Primarily as terms
For kinship, brood, and clan.
The bridle’s descendants

Today are mostly words
For team. Remarkable
Semantic persistence—

Raw rope of coercion
In domestication,
Strap linking mouth to hands

From horse to human, team,
Teams of horses pounding
Into battles, welcome

To the team, team-player,
As bridled as the rest,
Taking one for the team,

That leather strap tugging
Your tender lips, can’t wait
To have you on the team.

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