The Humber Mouth - Hull Literature Festival 2000 - Thursday 9th November - Sunday 19th November 2000
Open Poetry Competition


Where the crossing house gets to the point
of its own allotted yardage,
tidied between the down line Northern Spirit track
and the Long Lane cycle route to Hull,
there a giraffe stands inside a large shrub
hidden from view entirely,
apart from its spotted head and its long stiff neck
which puncture the East Yorkshire agricultural environment,
a consequence of its spine's inappropriate length.

Dwarfing the lumpen gnomes
who fish in perpetuity from the lawn's brick surround,
the giraffe affords the cyclist a passing stare
and all the Savannah grasslands
ripple in its eyes' turquoise sheen.

Jenny Hockey, Beverley

"The language used in this piece is very formal, rather like a forties Cycling in East Yorkshire guidebook. When the giraffe appears, "it's spotted head and long stiff neck/which puncture´┐Ż the agricultural environment" it is explained in the same tone of voice, which for me, heightens the surreal effect of the poem. The last two lines, in less formal language, are from the giraffe's point of view, a shift of scene from Yorkshire to Africa."


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