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Strange Familiar

By Catherine Ann Cullen

Strange Familiar

Strange Familiar Details:

Published: August 2013
ISBN:       978-0-9572073-6-3

Sample piece from Strange Familiar

In Defence of Chocolate

Eating chocolate is not a sin,
and cakes cannot be wicked,
whatever the magazines say.

Au contraire, oh éclair:
Eating chocolate is a religious experience,
unless you covet your neighbour's chocolate
or kill him for it.

Keeping chocolate is the opposite of a sin.
You can use it to honour your father and mother,
share it with your neighbour and his wife.
Making chocolate mousse is a corporal good work
that feeds the hungry,
a spiritual good work that comforts the sorrowful.
You take three eggs
and 200 grammes of dark chocolate.
You need only 170 grammes
but the other thirty keep the cook virtuous.
Separate the eggs, and whip the whites
till they are bright and stiff as archangels' wings,
or billow white as summer clouds,
cumulo nimbus, floating close to heaven,
the kind that cherubs sit upon.

Melt the chocolate in a bain-marie.
I like to think it's named for the Virgin Mary,
because anyone blessed with an immaculate conception
can surely bathe without touching the water.

Beat your trinity of yolks into the chocolate,
and stir a little spirit in:
brandy, cointreau, if you must, Lacryma Christi.
Then, fold in the egg whites
till you have God's good air
trapped in a layer of chocolate.
As long as you're not too proud of it,
your chocolate mousse will smooth your path to heaven,
helping you to love your enemies,
and your neighbour as yourself.

Other Publications by DOGHOUSE

Flames of Light

Strange Familiar

Ten Years in the DOGHOUSE

The Sear of Wounds

Bamboo Dreams

Slow Mysteries

Outward and Return

The Angels' Share

Asking for Directions

Rus in Urbe

Meeting Mona Lisa

Watching Clouds

Notes Towards a Love Song

Between the Lines

I Shouldn't Be Telling You This

Via Crucis

Capering Moons

Where the Music Comes From

No Place Like It

The Moon Canoe

An Exaltation of Starlings

Crossroads - Folklore from Kerry

Touching Stones

Arthur O'Leary & Arthur Sullivan
Musical Journeys from Kerry to the Heart of Victorian England

Slipping Letters Beneath the Sea

Canals of memory

New Room Windows

Down The Sunlit Hall


Lifetimes - Folklore from Kerry

Planting a Mouth

Morning at Mount Ring

A Bone In My Throat

PULSE - Writings on Sliabh Luachra

Whales off the Coast Of My Bed

The Moon's Daughter

The DOGHOUSE Book of Ballad Poems

I Met A Man...

The Waiting Room

Apples in Winter



Shadows Bloom

Both Sides Now

Loose Head

Song of the Midnight Fox

Heart of Kerry