Gillian Mellor – four poems


After the fume cupboard closed
and the wheeled in tv wheeled out
Mr Riley gave a test

He asked if we knew
the acid tongues
of girls appeared red
and the base language
of boys became blue

I studied your neck
watched it change
phenolphthalein pink
tasted salt on my lips

The Pure Magic of Being Six

is when the smart car in your hand
changes colour from green to gold.

For him this is doves from sleeves,
rabbits from hats.

For me, it’s thermochromism.
A reaction. It’s paint crystals

reacting to temperature.
A phenomenon.

It’s a face mesmerised,
a fist curling and uncurling.

It’s two words scrawled
on the back of an envelope:

love you, in graphite grey.
They do not change colour,

but pressed to my skin
they feel warm.

Tips for the Young to Ignore

Please keep warm in winter.
You’ll not need to swing cats;
bigger houses cost lots to heat
and there’s more room to fight.

Eat well when you can,
eat rough when you can’t.
Don’t hit your head on the dresser
when you fall. Avoid deadly things.

Be paid to climb into a box
only after joining the circus.
Always progress to trapeze.
Beware. Ladders don’t always

meet expectations.
Contentment isn’t so bad.
Happiness, if you find it, lurks
just the wrong side of enough.

An Arm and a Leg

We spread ourselves thin.
He made short work of the yellows.

We sang Goodbye to Piccadilly
and Farewell to Leicester Square.

Coventry Street was lost to us.
He asked how to buy a hotel.

Paid us all our paltry rents.
Blitzed the board. Took his salary,

built houses no one could afford.
Hid under the table until

it was his turn to pick us off.
One by one. I told myself

it was only a game.

Gillian Mellor lives in Moffat, Scotland and has been published in Southlight, The Fankle and also online.

One day she will begin work on a book of original tongue twisters that no one will publish.


2 thoughts on “Gillian Mellor – four poems

  1. Robert Nisbet June 6, 2016 / 8:56 am

    I don’t always like “philosophical” poems, but I really enjoyed the laid-back humour of ‘Tips for the Young ..’


  2. powfootwoman June 6, 2016 / 11:43 am

    Gillian is such a promising new voice – a welcome acerbic tone in these pieces – you can tell she’s a scientist by training.


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