This poem is spillover from the October 7, 2014 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by prompts from rix_scaedu and Anthony Barrette. It also fills the "mad scientist" square on my 9-11-14 card for the Halloween Bingo fest. This poem has been sponsored by Anthony & Shirley Barrette.
WARNING: For history being way grosser than fiction, because Nazis employed real live mad scientists. Sensitive readers may wish to skip this one.
Literature has presented
a wide range of cautionary tales
about mad scientists.
Dr. Frankenstein sought
to bring life out of death,
but wound up creating
a being of great strength
but little wit, and they
ended in fire and ice.
Dr. Jekyll brewed up
a perilous potion to conceal
certain unspecified vices
which he wished to practice,
but the transformation
into Mr. Hyde also
frayed his moral fiber,
leading to the death
of both personalities.
Dr. Moreau used a combination
of vivisection and chemistry
to uplift animals toward humanity,
creating the beast-men
only to die at their hands.
They were all of them outdone
by Dr. Mengele, who committed
his atrocities not by ones or twos
but by the hundreds, carrying out
ghastly experiments on men and
women and children at Auschwitz,
on twins when he could get them --
the better to have a control --
in pursuit of the Nazi delusion
of human perfection.
Dr. Mengele was never brought
to justice, but eluded capture
for thirty-four years, ultimately
suffering a stroke while swimming
which caused him to drown.
In literature and real life alike,
one pattern holds true:
when the doctor is out of his mind,
it can only end in disaster.
* * *
Frankenstein (1818) is a famous novel about creating life.
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1886) focuses on split personality.