Tag Archives: gothic

A gothic nook

It was beneath the trees of the grounds belonging to our house, or on the bleak sides of the woodless mountains near, that my true compositions of the airy flights of my imagination , were born and fostered.

So wrote the Mary Shelley reflecting on her time spent at in “The Cottage” on Dundee’s Broughty Ferry Road.

She thought differently of the place in later years, however, “…my habitual residence was on the blank and dreary northern shores of the Tay, near Dundee. Blank and dreary on retrospection I call them; they were not so to me then. They were the eyry of freedom, and the pleasant region where unheeded I could commune with the creatures of my fancy.

“The Cottage” is long gone but today, on a substantial buttress wall (dated 1899) in Dundee’s South Baffin Street, a plaque marks the spot. I was nearby this morning, and as the Wyvern Poets are currently working on a ‘Frankenstein’ project, I thought I’d pay a visit.

Curiously, I couldn’t help thinking that Mary’s later thoughts might have been even more gothic if fed from the place as it is today. A fine location for a scary movie…


A holdfast moment to bind us in safety,
As bomb-proof an anchor as any cam or friend.

The book was yours years before it held me,
Before Bedivere by the water’s edge.

A once and future trove of line drawn paladins,
Feet thrust into stirrups, pennants and courage high.

Sweeping fifties gothic, like full-plate Cadillacs,
Lances couched to vanquish any doubt.

And that’s me! And that’s you!
At the old house, or on a beach somewhere.

Pinning certainty to the surface of each print
Struck home with a finger like Damascene steel.