Talking Paint

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

Artwork and Poetry ~ by Vivien Steels



Home From Home
Vivien Steels

When we left home it was so dawn-early
birds hadn’t finished dressing.
Our car was grey –
grey like sheet metal shaking thunder
across Melbury Hill’s feet.
Our wet luggage was squashed into tiny boot.
Every road, which wound before us,
would bring the sea to me.
Are we there yet?
Mountains curtained the trail
with greenness and flocks of gulls,
rocks looming large with granite faces,
imparting stormy messages from waves.
The horizon was blue sipping green.
Is that the sea?
The way twisted into yellow
like a strip of iridescent beach
glinting with sunlit shells,
each one spelling ‘seaside’.
The first one to see the sea gets sixpence!
I wanted to leave all clothes behind,
put on my blue costume,
festooned with fish,
and let the sea be my home.

Published in Quill & Parchment - June 2009



Vivien Steels

A crop of arguments
produces nature’s fallout.

Just wanting peace –
green pastures,
still waters,
blue-sky clouds,
birdsong leafing branches.

Fields, brows furrowed,
grow their own answer,
wheat waving sunwards
in time-lapse twirls
by the five-bar gate
fallen open -
entrance and exit.
To go or stay?

for a season of windmills,
fragrant flour
and bread risen with promise
or go

Published in Write-Away – Summer 2001, 21st Century Poetry – October 2001, *Promise* - first collection of poems/colourillustrations designed/printed by
Vivien Steels/Vivi*Press – June 2003 & ENVOI 139 - October 2004




Sea Scent
Vivien Steels

Pebbles, oval as eggs,
mould into bare feet.
Cotton shorts blend with blue
as sea and sky shine out.

Waves run towards me, giggling.
I am a tidal conductor
caught in harmony
on summer’s beach.

Gulls hang so close
I reach for foam-feathers.
Black eyes, sharp as beaks,
seek crumbs from sandwiches,
shrieking their catch.

I stand, seven years,
a gift in time,
while diamond spray curtains
the gold-coin sun.
Salt breeze flaps my hair –
sea scent tickles my rosy skin.

                                                              Published in Panda 24 – October 2005



50 Year Plot
Vivien Steels

Simple strip of lawn parallel to washing line
hosts birdbath bordered by rockery
restructured with soil from pond, below.
Paddling pool decorates grass kept weedfree
with shedful of chemical warfare,
as holidays are spent deck-chaired, fenced in.

Crazy paving shifts its mad design
to slab patios where recliners and parasols,
gaudy as daisies, mimic the Mediterranean package
as summer tries to erupt in Britain.
Our dream garden – a fern-green forest to worship,
emerges in terraces sloping in waves
down to blue, iris-fringed water.

Suburbia grows spikes of heathers and conifers,
low maintenance, indelible colour and height for all seasons,
while travel inspires natural groves,
wildernesses, seas of grasses, wildlife havens
to clash with rows of formality
and pop-art sculptures branching out
from unexpected pastures.

Cottage garden is cornered by beehive compost bin,
confusing bees drawn by scent and colour from butterfly border
linking loveseat under rose-entwined arbour
with avenue of borders overflowing drifts of perennials
and pergola clothed with clinging clematis
beyond stream singing its aria.

Makeover requires decking spreading its gangplanks
through vista to distant wild meadow,
set off by pebbles, palms and Arabian pots hosting trees.
Raised beds laugh with vegetables interspersed with herbs
behind trellis, painted blue, embroidering boundaries.
Conservatory - all blinds, designer furniture and mirrors -
becomes the stargate between house and garden.

2000 and Beyond
Gazebo winks at barbecue entertaining flames
beyond which water feature parasols its fountain
while patio heaters, sparking with avenues of light,
reveal time and space as precious commodities
to be bought and sold in plots
by the highest bidder.

Published in Write-Away Special Edition – January 2003
















My Favourite Place
Vivien Steels

My shadow cycles by my side
as sun casts its gold
across lapping lakes.
Swans hydroplane in from
gathering clouds,
geese yakking their anger
at sharing waves.

Trees shiver leaves onto
autumn earth,
as boats bob hypnotically
lulled by water’s siren voice.
Reeds, pointing tall,
sift the breeze
for songs of summer,
now drifting down
to undulating depths
where pebbles sink
lilting onto stony bed.

I leave my blue bike
propped against a willow,
then drawn by magnets
I watch the day
close its curtains on
the weak-willed sun.

Illustrated with 'Colwick Park - Geese Drinking'




Red Geraniums
Vivien Steels

Lace curtain gently
rising and falling
in translucent summer breeze -
geranium vibrates with life
as blood-red petals flow...

Illustrated with 'Red Geraniums'