The Notorious Chair

a poem by tobias kerins, UK

A charming greeting, the warmest of smiles
But cloak and dagger, most cunning of styles
Resident of Fleet Street, perhaps the most famed
A trusted businessman, at least that’s what he claimed

He was a barber by trade, his name was well known
Yet surprising some thought, his trade had not grown
Regular customers, the same path never trod
The demon barber, himself Sweeny Todd

Would wait at the docks, for the ships to come in
Woe betide, let the story begin
He would spy a captain, or a man well heeled
When found his joy, could not be concealed

Light conversation, did ask about health
But all that he wanted, was to know about wealth
He probed with the questions, did gain their trust
Made them feel important, as he constantly fussed

His customer sat, in the notorious chair
The grandest of mirrors, into which he could stare
The work boy he came, and foamed all his face
Our barber as always, was so full of grace

Gave the work boy a penny, buy a pie from next door
From the old woman in the shop, that wears a pinafore
Go for a walk, and the streets do search
See if it lasts you, to St Pancras church

The boy he left, and the door was locked
This was when Sweeny, had importantly clocked
That the customer was relaxed, in the notorious chair
So he went for the lever, with no thought to spare

The chair it flipped, in a backward arc
Customer quickly, did disembark
To the cellar beneath, he was knocked out cold
Sweeny Todd now, did murder so cold

He chased down to the cellar, did the body inspect
Any sign of life, he tried to detect
If a pulse was found, or an air of breath
Then it was time, for the scalpel of death

He would slit their throats, and the end had arrived
Few who entered that shop, had indeed survived
Sweeny Todd, the demon barber of Fleet Street
With his barbers’ tools, and that notorious seat

He would grab the money, and the jewels he’d take
No chance of the corpse, to come awake
He continued his trade, as he just didn’t care
There were more people dying, than the cutting of hair

The Orphan
The Maltese Falcon Vol VII
He Had No Guilt

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