Poem 51 – The Charnel-House

‘I collected bones from charnel-houses and disturbed… the tremendous secrets of the human frame’
Victor Frankenstein
Mary Shelley, Frankenstein, Chapter 4

Hush between the shelves that bear the weight of bones,
As no light peeps between the walls of solemn stone,
Here in this final resting place of mortal remains disinterred,
All else seems forgotten – all transgressions from the Word.
For in this solemn darkness between the remains of the long dead,
None remember if they lived in sin, or if they earnt their daily bread.

But hark! Who is this who creeps between the shelves?
Who unleashes moonlight ‘cross the floor?
A man cloaked against the chill unleashes clouds of steam
Amidst the very bones that do no longer breathe.
Long and pensive fingers falter for a while,
Draw forth and back, unwilling to defile
The dead. And now they snatch,
Like a viper from the shade,
Stealing life itself from its passing prey.
Yet the thief here steals no life,
But instead the mere bones of those once living,
Who thought themselves protected but instead are spirited away.
’tis Frankenstein, a man who shines brilliant in the day,
Honoured by his peers as the wisest of them all,
And yet at night the grim charnel house holds him in its thrall.
He creeps away and shuts out the gross moonlight from the shelves of resting dead,
But the dust beneath the dead bears the marks of his frightened tread.

Now in the charnel-house no-one stands dismayed,
And likewise none sees Frankenstein in the unhallowed damps of the grave,
Slipping away beneath the moon, the dead are left behind,
In the charnel-house’s forgotten room, the bones lie, white and blind.
They know not of their thief, they wait for eternity,
Not caring who disturbs them in their grim sovereignity.


Dear readers,
Here I start a set of poems loosely based on Shelley’s ‘Frankenstein’. Some of you may recall that I mentioned it briefly a while ago, and this is the end result – a set of poems that you may or may not enjoy, but I rather hope you do. They are entirely unrelated to each other, although of course they all are based on the same work, so they can be read in isolation. Although, of course, if you have enjoyed them, you might as well subscribe and get the whole lot.
Kind regards,
The Hapless Neo-Romantic


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