on Frankenstein

(it’s two hundred years since publication of Frankenstein or the Modern Prometheus by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley)


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“Did I request thee, Maker, from my clay
To mould me man? Did I solicit thee
From darkness to promote me? — Paradise Lost.


inspirited by the wind of promise
more fervent and vivid
of beauty and delight
accompanied whale fishers
men on whom I can depend
dauntless (but I have no friend).

ice vast and irregular
a low carriage, dogs, a being

a sledge, a human
“to seek one who fled from me’

I begin to love him so
my heart.


the ancient teachers
the instruments of life.

the eye of the creature opened
to catastrophe

the peasants were dancing
a noble war in the sky

the murders and the author—
a dream has power to endure.


yet I am thy creature.
I see bliss, the caves of ice, a fire
howling like a wild beast.

‘You must create a female for me.’


to the remotest of the Orkneys
a filthy process
a daemon at the casement

pistols and a dagger,
ever on the watch,
but her bloodless arms,
her head hanging down,
& his fiendish finger pointed
to the corpse of my wife.

the devil eluded my grasp
I pursued him northward
the wind arose; the sea roared.


(how his fine and lovely eyes.)

Many comrades have found
a grave amidst this desolation
Wasn’t it glorious? Full of dangers and terror?
Brave men, heroes?

The cabin where lay the remains
stands a form, one vast hand.
‘And do you dream?’ said the daemon.

He was soon away,
lost in darkness and distance.

Image: Piero di Cosimo, The Myth of Prometheus, c. 1515 via Wikimedia Commons; here’s a terrific discussion on two hundred years of Frankenstein and, on a lighter note, here’s a wonderful scene from Mel Brooks’ Young Frankenstein (RIP: Marty Feldman as Igor (1934-1982), Peter Boyle as the Monster (1935-2006) and Gene Wilder (1933-2016)).

4 thoughts on “on Frankenstein

  1. A wonderful reflection on Frankenstein, Peter. There is something about the fire and the ice that has always resonated with me, the unanswered, perhaps unanswerable, questions, reminiscent of Frankenstein Unbound (Aldiss).

    Liked by 1 person

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