The Humming of Giraffe


Thanks to Louise Pilgaard @toft_pilgaard for making this photo available freely on Unsplash

The poetry prompt for today came indirectly from Billy Collins via a Master Class on poetry. The challenge was to write a poem six to twelve lines long and containing only one sentence. My inspiration came from an article I read on giraffe humming.

Did you know that giraffe hum to one another when they sleep?

Well, at least giraffe in captivity do. The experts can only guess about what happens in the enclosures at night, but they have these amazing rich sound recordings of a deep harmonizing hum.

Many have hypothesized about the reason for the giraffe humming. Perhaps in captivity the songs are a way of connecting. Perhaps the sounds are snoring or maybe even dream sounds.

For me, I don’t need to know the reason why giraffe hum, I just need to listen to them. It’s the kind of sound that mends the earth.

Check out this article and listen to the sounds your self.

Hum of Giraffe

When the darkness comes
in low over the Serengeti
and the full moon rises
above the winding Mara,

you can hear the steady
irrepressible humming
like the deep harmonic rumble
of an ancient antiphonal choir

their sustained echos becoming
a healing drone, mending
the earth one solemn
soulful cry at a time.

—A draft by Carla Jeanne Picklo Jordan

May your day overflow with healing and peace.

Starry Night May Day 2021

Photo by Calwaen Liew on Unsplash

May Day is typically celebrated on this day all over the world. On this day, communities celebrate unity, togetherness, and rebirth. Friends gather and celebrate life.

This May Day had me feeling nostalgic for the beautiful community I met during two separate trips to Uganda and Kenya. Our first night there, we stayed in a hotel near the airport. As I stood out on the balcony that night, my first one under the African sky, an overwhelming sense of peace washed over my spirit.

Today, may you take a deep breathe and live into your day, enjoy those you love, and lean in to love yourself. You are enough and you are worthy to be seen, heard, and loved.


I stood beneath the sky
inky black and alive 
with molten-gold stars
and my heart leapt up
in the silence 
to greet the moon.

Let me know how you spent your May Day in the comments below. 🙂

NaPoWriMo 2021 Day 18

Our Massai Warrior Guide during our time on safari in Kenya.

The poetry prompt for today challenged me to write a poem based on the title of one of the chapters from Susan G. Wooldridge’s Poemcrazy: Freeing Your Life with Words. I found the book’s  table of contents from the groovy “Look Inside” feature of Amazon.

Immediately the chapter entitled “naming wild hippo” caught my eye. A memory of standing of the banks of the Mara river during the season of The Great Migration in the Massai Mara. With our Massai guide, we stood high above the river where submerged hippos wallowed in the cool muddy water. We had to be absolutely quiet so as not to seem a threat to the territorial hippo.

We learned that hippos can stay completely submerged for thirty minutes. Only small bubbles on the surface tell the story of who is beneath the surface.

Somehow I wanted to bring that moment in my poem, and I wanted to use some Massai words to honor the Massai warrior guide who taught us so much during our time with him. After a little research, I chose the words: God, Massai, and thank you. The words in italics are Massai words with the definition immediately following in English.

naming wild hippo

naamoni aiyai
the she to whom I pray;
you who stirs the sky,
scatters the stars chasing

cobwebs into corners.
you who named wild hippos,
submerged nostrils lurking
in murky water whirling—

a vortex of violence.
how will i know the wily
slip spinning bubbles beneath
the smooth surface belie

the danger? you stand like
a bulwark, the bastion
of defense for our earthwork.
we are massai—the work of god.

ashe. thank you.

--a draft poem by Carla Jeanne Picklo Jordan

Let me know what you think in the comments below. Share the love, write a poem, appreciate a good friend. Each moment is a new beginning.