Loveless Mrs. Lovett (An Ekphrastic poem of Sweeney Todd*)

Oh, there’s no place like London…

No place like it indeed.
Go and see Mr. Todd for a shave and
end up on the menu. My menu.
Hey, it’s a living.

Try the priest, sample the scholar,
just about anyone will do when you’re sick
of trying to sell the most revolting pies on Fleet Street.
Poor thing, poor thing.

One day, the blood and stench will be worth it.
A home by the beautiful sea, the day I am the one to
complete Mr. Todd’s arm, instead of a God forsaken shaving blade,
that proudly drips rubies of the innocent.

Call it obsession, call it revenge,
I call it an inability to move on.
The barber won’t settle until that high and mighty judge
is sittin’ pretty in the grave.
Poor thing, poor thing.

Perhaps it’s just as well.
Mr. Todd needs more time to see what sort of lady
he has in front of his nose. I said his poor Lucy was dead.
Ha! I’m ten times the woman she “was.”

Should I care that his precious Lucy wanders Fleet Street
disguised as a miserable old woman? Perhaps, but for now,
it’s Mrs. Lovett’s turn. What Mr. Todd doesn’t know won’t kill me
Poor thing.

*Sweeney Todd lyrics by Stephen Sondheim


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