London's soil had long since dried and cobbles lay where grass once grew,
The memories of violets died as petals yearned for morning dew,
The sky as bleak as life itself an echo of the days gone by,
The clouds rained metaphoric tears in grief of man's desire to die.
This concrete world, these concrete dreams, had built a wall around my mind,
The aging grey of empty living surely soon would paint me blind,
When from the ashes of the fire which once had blazed so fierce inside,
A rose as red as passion formed and reawakened long lost pride.
Her thorns as spiky as her wit, her petals charming as her eyes,
A savior to my inner pain, a beauty born when hope had died,
The world still crumbled 'neath my feet but love had me lost in its power,
Dedicating all I had to nurturing my scarlet flower.
A year can change our course of life and ten can alter so much more,
But here I stand a broken man just as I had so long before,
My ship had docked from foreign lands upon the dreary London harbor,
Once more I replayed my role as Fleet Street's most efficient barber.
The city oozed a wretched stench my mind had chosen to forget,
A place with nothing left to give still owed my life a priceless debt,
My anger forced my thoughts to dwell on love I had but could not save,
The world would suffer Todd's revenge with Sweeney's famous cutthroat shave.
This town was full of withered souls an empty plane that God had cursed,
The rich had now become the poor, and poor were living far much worse,
A business to the penniless would leave my earnings somewhat shy,
And so my trade would now be paid by men, who could afford to die.
Below my shop lived Mrs Lovett, a widow selling homemade pies,
Her pastry staler than her breath and meat as grey as London skies,
But Lovett had a hate for life that I myself had come to feel,
And our next business partnership would turn my dreams to something real.
I welcomed all the finest gentry, near and far the wealthy came,
Eager to be first in line and never to be seen again,
I'd clear their chins of manly stubble trim their locks short back and sides,
But little did the people know they'd leave my shop in pastry pies.
Their meat was rich and succulent enough to fill your hunger whole,
A lawyer flan with parmesan or maybe sage and soldier roll,
A home baked shepherd's pie would warm the cockles of your famished heart,
And for the sweet teeth of the town a tempting tasty tailor tart.
I played my role as empty shell, whose vengeance drove the men I killed,
But Lucy would be lost for good no matter how much blood I spilled,
Her love was snatched right from my fingers, jealousy took her away,
The beast that tore my world apart must come in for a shave one day.
I stalked the dark streets by the night with envelope held tight in hand,
The letter welcomed Turpin to the murder spot that I had planned,
'Dear judge I hope you read this note in favour of forthcoming prunes,
A free trip to my barber shop on fleet street, hope to see you soon.'
And with that I dropped off the letter witnessed by the moonlit sky,
Retiring to my killing quarters, waiting for the man's reply,
A scent of satisfaction shared the air with Mrs Lovett's gravy,
If war was fought for human love, then love in turn would surely save me.
For months and months anticipation drew my attention to the door,
But talk of strange encounters here made custom far less than before,
The judge had clearly took advice to let his beard grow all his life,
Unless he wished to wet the head of Sweeney Todd's most sharpest knife.
Three years on and here I sit a shadow of a shadowed man,
A ghost of life I am once more from whence my story first began,
A murderer with broken heart which time has never healed complete,
Another worthless withered soul who lost his hopes in London streets.
This poem can also be read on iPoetry, the poetry app for the iphone/ipod touch available on the Apple iTunes App Store.
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