Talking Paint

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

Artwork and Poetry ~ Vivien Steels

Winter White

Winter White
Vivien Steels

North winds rampage across moors,
daggers-drawn, scattering frost,
as October yields its suit.
Hares moult brown-specked camouflage -
fluff-tufts caught in crevices –
in favour of winter white.
Crystal-laden clouds dip down low,
tipping noses with ice,
painting mountains with snow.

Published in Panda No: 14 - April 2003

*Winter White* - my fifth collection of poems and coloured illustrations is now available at Vivi*Press Poetry.


Vivien Steels

For you~
May snow fall in soft clouds upon your field,
May stars sparkle in pearls of light across your sky,
May frost lace in crystal patterns down your windows,
May moons glitter their silvered rays through curtains of dark,
May petalled roses of winter blossom in your whitened garden,
May shards of diamond-ice necklace your house,
May doves of peace rest feathers upon your roof,

May angels always light your path homewards~
For you ~
  at Christmastide.

Published in Write-Away - Winter 2001 and Ferne and Chocolate and The Rollercoaster Rainbow and Other Stories (Dayglo Books Ltd) - July 2015
Illustrated with 'Christmas at Mill House'


Vivien Steels

Ribbon of white leaves
whips from blanketed bush.
Winter blows last life into garden
where squirrel forages in evergreens,
magpie jumps up and down on deserted greenhouse,
ringed dove sips from mirrored birdbath,
hedge sparrow hops in between bowing plants
chased by belligerent blackbird,
white snow-feather flashing in his tail.

Published in Earth Love 30 - Feb 2009 with 'Winter's Garden'


Sassie Midwinter
Vivien Steels

Cold hung on the barn door creaking
as Mr McVae, vet, estate car red on snow,
purred into the courtyard.
Sassie, our cream/grey Shetland,
sprawling in mud and frost
and twisting, trying to ease sides
bloated like overblown tyres.
Icicles, daggers-drawn, hung from guttering
as Calam hauled Sassie to hooves;
her legs splayed, Bambi-like.

McVae, stethoscope snaked to chest,
listened intently, bird-quiet,
asking for her to be led indoors;
pink arms in metal bucket,
water steaming, soap frothing.
Deep inside, under twitching tail
he felt for burst, twisted bowel
confirming with steely grimace –
There’s nothing more to do.

Calam led to the first field,
while I stroked Sassie’s neck,
kissed her velvet muzzle
leaving him to hold weathered reins.
Whispering to Sheena, mother-mare,
her dark, liquid eyes absorbed my pain
from an overdose of anaesthetic – behind.

Calam cradled drooping head
stepping away as legs folded.
Back hit grass, eyes fluttered,
then stillness soft as snow,
hard as ice.

Published in Envoi 139 - October 2004
Illustrated with 'Bleak House Farm' 


Wish for a Dog
Vivien Steels

I would love a dog,
a big, long-coated dog
to walk with forever
in tree-lined snow avenues
in that land where illness isn’t.

Published in Animal Antics 2015 - Forward Poetry Anthology April 2016
Illustrated with 'Winter Walk'


Vivien Steels

soft as lambswool
ruffles your hair

shining silver
refines your mind

liquid as gold
comforts your heart

clouds stretch soft wings
across snow sky
reflecting stars

as rushing wind
inspires your spirit
with the lightness of feathers

the touch of peace

Published in Reflections 60 – Spring 2006
Illustrated with 'Snow Sky'


Hill Top Farm
Vivien Steels

Snowed in, smothered in pureness of white,
I remember the stench of burning pyres,
grotesque barbecues belching
chimneys of smoke,
reminiscent of Nazi ovens.

Death tastes.
I swallowed it after watching the murder
of our cows and calves, sheep and lambs,
animals we had brought into this world;
all that was good and green
disappearing into a charnel house,

Our sheds and byres stand empty,
concrete graveyards
which we wander through
like the newly bereaved.
Our land is beautiful, fertile,
hidden under winter’s cloud
but like a syphilis, lurking beneath the surface,
secrets of the burial pits
leach into soil and water,
and fire, we are told by deaf Government bodies,
cannot eradicate the evidence of ‘foot and mouth’ –
their spores remain intact;
hell cannot rid itself of evil.

I stare, the white-out soothing my soul,
but purgatory still exists at Hill Top Farm
and, here, eight million pounds worth
is just negative equity.

Published in Envoi 139 - October 2004, Quantum Leap ‘Five by…’ feature/Vivien Steels No: 28 – November 2004 & in *Mandala* - second collection of poems/colour illustrations designed/printed by Vivien Steels/Vivi*Press – November 2004
Illustrated with 'Snowed In'




Vivien Steels

Frost’s silver pencil
writes ice-flowers of winter
on crystal parchment.

Published in Amber Silhouettes 2 - 2004 Illustrated with 'Shadow in the Snow'





Mary’s Song
Vivien Steels

It was moonlight over the rocks
outside the door that led her eyes
to gaze towards the midnight sky.
Clouds rolled forwards,
stars sped over her,
increasing in brightness and spangled size.
Faces of beauty luminous as sunshine,
circled by feathered wings,
inclined their bodies towards her.
She lifted up her arms,
hands outstretched,
to receive their spiritual gold,
their perfumed message,
their healing balm –
for the child within.

Published in Amber Silhouettes 1 – 2003


Vivien Steels

Twisted church spire watches
over brown ridged field
where snow, soft as fur,
nestles in furrows like leverets.
Ink black trees light up from behind
with gold/orange sunset.
Cold kisses my face
leaving rosy imprints.
The road, white with salty sheen,
sings under racing car,
speeding homewards
as day sinks under banks
of snow-swollen clouds.


Published in The Great British Write-Off - Across England - Anthology [Forward Poetry Press] – November 2015





Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas
and a Happy New Year.



    My Snowy Weather paintings were featured in Quill & Parchment during December 2008 and a selection of my paintings were displayed in Subtle Tea  from January 2009.

  You can buy cards of my paintings. Please e-mail me, Vivien Steels, for an Order Form.  Do go to Vivi*Press Cards for more items. All prices include post and packing.