Artwork and Poetry ~ by Vivien Steels
Published in Panda No: 14 - April 2003
♥ *Winter White* - my fifth collection of poems and coloured illustrations is available at
Published in Earth Love 30 - Feb 2009
Illustrated with 'Winter's Garden'
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'
Hill Top Farm
Snowed in, smothered in pureness of white,
I remember the stench of burning pyres,
grotesque barbecues belching
chimneys of smoke,
reminiscent of Nazi ovens.
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,
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'
Published in Amber Silhouettes 2 - 2004 Illustrated with 'Shadow in the Snow'
Published in Amber Silhouettes 1 - 2003
Published in The Great British Write-Off - Across England [Forward Poetry Press] - November 2015