Talking Paint

"Painting is silent poetry & poetry is painting that speaks." Plutarch

Artwork and Poetry ~ by Vivien Steels

Autumn Leaves


Autumn Haiku
Vivien Steels

Autumn left its leaves
on the kitchen window sill
patterned in soft silk.

               Published in Poetry Monthly International 24 - October 2010                Illustrated with 'Autumn Leaves'



Autumn Garden
Vivien Steels

Robin fell like red leaf
onto crumbs left scattered
as flowers in the wind
over the patterned lawn.

Japanese anemones,
white as teeth,
turned smiles to the sun,
laughing in time to
the chimes of the breeze

Two bay trees,
on parade like soldiers,
twirled their leaves,
light and dark,
waiting to be picked.

Clouds pearled across blue sky
closing down sun,
sending drafts of rain
to receptive garden –
sunbathing, resting, waiting
for autumn’s fingers
to embroider a tapestry of loss …

Illustrated with 'Autumn Fruits'



Vivien Steels

Sweat lodge drifts with steam;
spirit-mists dance their visions
entrancing mind’s eye.

Illustrated with 'Navaho Shaman'




Many Wounds
Vivien Steels

Felled like a tree
fighting in battle,
remembered by relatives
dancing sacred dances,
singing sacred songs,
chanting sacred chants
under redwood
spreading arms full of leaves
above ‘Many Wounds’.

Illustrated with 'Kills Enemies'







Autumn Equinox
Vivien Steels

sky darkens, moon rises
silvering different trees
still vibrant with life



Illustrated with 'Wild Wood'



Wild Wood
Vivien Steels

Great oak, living building, sighs with snow,
while rooks caw their presence down
from twiggy nests trapped in tree tops.
Sky glimmers sunset but rises with dawn’s chorus,
intricacies of song lifting life to days
growing longer, stretched.

City of trees rocket above embroidered grass,
bluebells ringing cobalt,
mimicking movement everywhere
as spring strides in, clothing night branches
against velvet black-drop
pinned with mother-of-pearl moon.

Fresh green growth provides restaurants
for gourmet caterpillars, meals for nestlings
needing a fix every three minutes.
Summer sun pulls oak into costume, ornate,
spun with emeralds, rustling with shadow,
umbrella from full sun or ink-clouds blown in.

Western winds wash out all light
with fields of rain over a church of branches
worshipping the glory of autumn;
leaves praising in shades of amber to vermilion,
falling into stream cascading on raft of eternity
into winter and beyond.

Wild wood closes down; a ‘farewell’ to plenty
as seasons whirr round again,
waiting for spring to soften frost, melt ice
and dredge glowering skies 
with shivers of gold,
with glare of polished sun.

Published in Tree Spirit – Spring 2005 & Private Photo Review 2005