“Poems from In Between Angels and Animals” by Emily Cullen




I lie on the bed in darkness,
wary of sudden toddler jerks
(your innocent, erratic strength).
Instead, you lay your head upon my cheek
and in that momentary tenderness,
a universe of visceral wisdom.
I am held by this intuition:
free of all condition.


We grasp each other.
Words surrender
to spoor of pore.
You kiss my collarbone.
Sacred contours
quibbles and stresses.
Our limbs recall
a geography
of catharsis;
the lee of my back,
the lie of your land.
Embodiment is © Emily Cullen


We take the damp for granted here.
Blinds draw back to reveal
colonies of galaxies:
tiny black holes
in our new collective space.
‘It’s only condensation,’
Next Door concedes,
‘the weather’s too wintry
to open the windows.’
My wooden bangle by the sill
slips into a mildewed coat of green.
For fun, I bought you mouldy cheese.
Last night, it took revenge on me,
inducing a vivid dream
of a white chandelier of mould
that slowly lowered
through our kitchen ceiling:
a lichen lantern,
till its lattices became milky spores,
mouths that started to open and close.
Then I awoke, vowing to spray
our wall of condensation,
diffuse for good my fascination
with Galway mould.
Galway Mould is © Emily Cullen


Wisps of opium:
boa constrictors
curl into curtains
of late afternoon.
Milky ribbons tantalise
like the soft, deliberate motion
of the belly dancer you admired
in Turkish solitude.
I remember you burning sandalwood
in Illinois to set the mood.
Now smoky arabesques
tease then evanesce
while broken trails of ash,
like fossilized worms announce
seduction as but a crumbling dream:
brittle, grey, ephemeral.
Incense is © Emily Cullen

Incense’ was published in No Vague Utopia (Ainnir Publishing, 2003) ‘Galway Mould’, ‘Embodiment’ and ‘Playing House’ were published in Emily Cullen’s second collection, In Between Angels and Animals (Arlen House, 2013).


Dr. Emily Cullen is an Irish writer, scholar, harpist and arts manager. Her first poetry collection, entitled No Vague Utopia was published by Ainnir in 2003. In 2004 she was the national Programme Director of the Patrick Kavanagh Centenary celebrations and was selected for the Poetry Ireland Introductions series. Emily was awarded an IRCHSS Government of Ireland fellowship for her doctoral study on the Irish harp. She is a qualified teacher of the harp who has performed throughout Europe, Australia and the United States. A former member of the Belfast Harp Orchestra, she has recorded on a number of albums and also as a solo artist. In addition to writing poetry, short stories and feature articles, she publishes widely on aspects of Irish cultural history and music.

Out now! Emily Cullen In Between Angels and Animals (Arlen House, 2013) 
ISBN: 9781851320790  Paperback 96 pp 12 EURO
Available from Kennys Bookshop, The Book Depository and many good book stores.
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