Danielle Hope 
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Giraffe Under a Grey Sky (2010)


Published by Rockingham Press

ISBN 978-1-904851-34-9 -- Paperback, 64 pages, £7.99
You can order from direct from my publisher, from Amazon or from Inpress Books (a specialist poetry book publisher)
Contact the Publisher:
The Rockingham Press
11 Musley Lane
Herts SG12 7EN
Amazon - link to:
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Examples of poems from Giraffe under a Grey Sky



After the narrowing of days, when fogs
lazed across fields, we await this
time of turnings; frost might kiss
our houses, gates, driveways, dogs.

We swap dreams like shadows under
a plump moon or afternoon sun.
Grey grey skies shudder cold upon
our faces; porches and street-lamps shiver.

And what might such turning reap?
Would there be relief from floods
tornadoes, earthquakes, droughts;

or maybe famines and the tired plunder
of ice-caps under trespassers’ steps?
Puddles could glaze like an aged mirror.  


The Heart


Anatomically the heart

lies left below the breast bone

beats from dark to light


and light to dark again.

Soft through the nights

like rain on a tent canopy

that flaps stubbornly

with the turning weathervane.


But there are times

when the heart marches

like an opera chorus

rousing overtures and arias

to deluge the whole platform.


Mathematically the heart

has two chambers

one blue and one red


but it sends out longing

that is not like that.

More like a river

that traverses valleys

and sometimes rapids


sometimes the backs

of city streets, coal stacks,

sometimes nurturing cormorant

and kingfisher, songbirds

knotted reeds and secret trout.


         To hear 'The Heart' click play                                                   


Once my favourite season.

Landscapes petalled in red

and orange. I gathered

conkers, their smooth brown

circles cooled the palms

of blackberring hands.


But now I dread

shortening days, raincoat

evenings, the first frost,

damp seeping to bone.

The calendar harvest

of absent birthdays.





All month a giraffe has been walking through

our rooms, sunlight glancing from his marbled

hide as he peers out of a window, chews

on clematis and honeysuckle.


We say nothing. Talking instead of unjust

wars, politics, drought, or the irritating habits

of neighbours. When friends visit

we shoo him into the box room.


But he understands nothing and plods

down - soft steps, his feet slipping

on floorboards as he snuffles his long lips,

under the sofa, searching for crumbs.


When summer comes and we take our holiday

we’ll each secretly plot how to escape him,

packing the car, calling we’ll not be leaving

for ages yet as we jump in and crash gears.


But down the motorway, in the hum

of engine and classic fm, we’ll turn

to see him stretch out on the back seat,

chocolate eyes blinking in the breeze.
 To hear 'Giraffe' click play

Potters Bar


            (after Auden)


Part I only (there are IV parts)





This is the accountant doubting the order

totting the costs of repairing disorder


faxing his boss for a second contractor

who passed it to Bloggs of Little Senshester.


Meanwhile the link wore thin and malign

the deal discussed over turbot and wine


and no-one saw the instructions in bold

the message said urgent, but no-one was told.


Bloggs’s bolts will fix rotted joints

to let the train pass over the points.






Mrs Uomo reviews her regrets


Mrs Uomo opens the large corner cupboard

and lifts them out piece by piece

delicate as bone china. Some people have

their share portfolios or their savings accounts

but Mrs Uomo has these.

She has ready the anti-dust spray and duster

the silver rub for those little antique-like things

that were made to hold jam and butter.

Her table is laid with newspaper

and Mrs Uomo wears bright yellow gloves.


She knows the edges and curves of every one –

the missed visit, the birthday she forgot

the words unsaid and said and the time

she put salt in Margery Jones’s coffee.

Each week she takes down every piece

and polishes, but it takes such a lot of time

and the corner cupboard is over full.

Mrs Uomo might have to get Bruce-no-job-

too-small Hodgson to put up another.


She longs to toss them all into a large

plastic bag and under the stars and a small moon

scurry down to Oxfam or Save the Children

and leave the bag outside, sneaking away

like a shadow before anyone can rush out

and say we don’t take these in that knowing voice –

just like they did for her electric toaster.

And while she wishes a new regret takes shape

in her hand. So Mrs Uomo polishes it

then puts it up on the shelf.