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DETYGERATA - Part 1 by Vivi "Tyggy" Steels

Posted on February 1, 2016 at 7:50 PM

I was so sorry to hear about the passing of Sir Terry Wogan. I listened to Wake-Up to Wogan from the very beginning. I was one of Terry’s young TYGS (Terry’s Young Girls and Geezers).  There were older TOGS – (Terry’s Old Gals & Geezers!!). I was called Vivi “Tyggy” Steels & emailed Terry & Pauly many times & had poems & emails read out. I have a WUTWAC (a Wake-Up to Wogan Alarm Clock) & a WUTW Sweat Shirt.  I remember so many times being doubled up with laughter at the emails sent in from other TYGs & TOGS. Who can forget Mick Sturbs & his very funny 'Janet & John' near-the-knuckle stories? I had M.E. at the time & was often unwell in bed, but his radio show never failed to uplift me. I taped lots of episodes of the show and loved it when the team all collapsed in uncontrollable laughter. I was so upset when WUTW finished in December 2009 & I am even more upset by hearing that Terry has passed away.  He was such a warm, friendly human being who I remember saying ‘kindness’ was one of the most important attributes.  He is unforgettable...

One of the emails I had read out was a take on the Desiderata called DETYGERATA for TYGS & TOGS.  Part 1 is printed below.

"Go tyggishly amid the letters and emails and remember (if you can) what peas there may be. As far as possible be on cheery terms with all TOGS. Speak your mind loudly and repeatedly; and turn your radio up, even when you’ve heard it all before, they too need a turn (and often have one). Avoid loud and bearded TOGS, they cause a lot of probs. (See Boggy and Ken about this.) Don’t compare yourself to other TYGS and TOGS for you become too confident or deflated: there will always be a strange spectrum of the breed."

Vivi "Tyggy" Steels

New Day by Vivi Steels

Posted on December 29, 2015 at 4:25 AM

New Day


Crystal birdbath presages clear night –

stars in their right places

shining ladders of light to flowers,

closed until dawn

when dew washes

all dark away.


The day unfurling its leaves,

springs into the business of bees,

radiating a golden honey-glow,

filling the body with sweetness,

the spirit with hope

lured by the charms

of a new day.

© Vivien Steels

Published in MAGNAPOETS – Epiphanies Anthology Summer 2011

Illustrated with 'Bee' from 'Spring Blossom'

Christmastide by Vivi Steels

Posted on December 1, 2015 at 3:25 AM



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 patterns down your windows of crystal,

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 vaulted roof,

May angels always light your path homewards ~

For you

  at Christmastide.


© Vivien Steels

Published in Write-Away – Winter 2001

& Ferne & Chocolate & The Rollercoaster Rainbow & Other Stories (Dayglo Books Ltd) – July 2015

Shadow's Story by Vivi Steels

Posted on October 17, 2015 at 3:55 AM

Sadly my lovely little Shadow was put to sleep on Wednesday 23rd September 2015 at 5.15pm. He was 9 years and 3 months old and had developed hind leg paralysis, couldn't hold himself up and deteriorated rapidly. He is buried under a Garden Angel in the back garden in the back central border. I feel devastated and can't stop crying, but my dear friend, Annie, said I 'gave him a lifetime of care, comfort and love and that is a wonderful gift to have given to another living creature.' This has comforted me greatly.




I was so upset at witnessing the death of this small, brown wild rabbit by a speeding car, that I kept thinking - what can I do to mitigate this situation? I had vowed not to have another rabbit after my last lovely rabbit, Honey. But I thought, I can give a good, loving home to another rabbit. I decided there and then to go to the pet shop near my mother's flat.


I cuddled the small black furry rabbit I'd chosen. He was a Lion-Headed Dwarf rabbit about eight weeks old with a fluffy ruff of fur round his neck, a silver tummy and silver eye-liner. He licked and nibbled my blouse. I bought him a two-storey rabbit Chalet set up in the car-less garage with large living areas joined by a ramp and a large garden run. He settled in very quickly. He enjoyed exploring the garage, conservatory and kitchen and the enclosed back garden.


Shadow is very sociable and inquisitive. He loves being combed and brushed, which has to be done daily, because of the long fur round his neck and back. He affectionately butts my hand and licks me running in circles round me and making a funny honking noise. He expresses his joy of life by jumping and twisting in the air, dashing at high speed round his toys and in and out of obstacles. In the morning he rushes to greet me on the top storey of his Chalet so he can jump down onto a stool, then the garage floor. He dashes out into the garden and his happy disposition lifts my spirits every morning.





Running up and down his three-storey cardboard Cottontail Cottage in the conservatory (all the way from the US) and eating raisins as a treat.



When my cat, Mittens, ignores him.


Finest Hour

Being friendly to everyone he meets.




© Vivien Steels 2014

Published in The Sunday Telegraph (Lifestyle Section) Pet Tales – 11.5.2014


Sea Otter by Vivi Steels

Posted on September 1, 2015 at 1:20 PM

Sea Otter


Bands of amber kelp

anchor furred body

floating on back,

rafting against tug of tide

liquorice nose lifted,

small eyes closed,

as sunbathing under settled sky

meals from sea’s kitchen

gained on diving trips –

starfish, squid, crab, abalone –

are prepared

shell bashed against stone tool

resting on rounded belly

like hammer on anvil,

prising open juicy riches

with webbed paws.


Grooming waterproof coat,

blowing air bubbles

to inflate own lifejacket,

rolling close to female with kit,

who rides clinging, squealing

when she disappears for food

beneath choppy waves.


He kidnaps suckling

forcing mate to share catches,

nuzzles her streaked coat,

returns offspring,

then floating on backs,

rafting against roll of tide

under settled sky,

they sunbathe side by side.


Published in ORBIS No: 123 – February 2003

I've included this poem as I have been watching The Big Blue Live on the BBC and have been so entranced by the Sea Otters.  They are one of my favourite animals.  I wrote this poem in 2002 but it does detail the behaviour where the kits are kidnapped to force the female to give up her food.



Ferne & Chocolate & The Rollercoaster Rainbow & Other Stories by Vivien (Vivi) Steels

Posted on July 16, 2015 at 5:20 AM


'A little girl named Ferne goes on magical adventures with her best friend, Chocolate, her dark brown cat. The book contains five stories, one for each season of the year plus one for Christmas. On their travels Ferne and Chocolate meet some amazing characters – seagulls who sail a boat, a bad tempered camel, a pair of strange twins who can swim, a screeching bird with multi-coloured feathers, and flying reindeer. These stories are full of descriptions of weird and wonderful places and Ferne brings home some extraordinary memories with her.'

My children's book with my illustrations has just been published by DayGlo Books Ltd @, who specialise in books for children, and people of all ages, who have dyslexia.  Do go and have a look at their website.

Hedonist's List of Desert Island Essentials by Vivi Steels

Posted on June 20, 2015 at 3:00 PM

Hedonist's List of Desert Island Essentials


Blue iceberg from Arctic shores

melting into cool, mountain streams.

Chocolate Emporium effusing cocoa –

door always open, shelves always filled.

Cooking pot permanently flame-hot

to bubble water within its depths for

Chinese Jasmine-scented tea,

fragrance rising in coils of steam.

Tent, the size of small bungalow,

with bathroom ‘en suite’ included.

Bombay Curry House,

waiters and cooks ever-ready

to conjure spiced masterpieces

served on white plates.

Library, walls resplendent with books,

superb poetry section –

no overdue charges.

Softest duvet fattened with duckdown,

hammock fittings to lasso two palm trees

under indigo sky christened with stars.


Published in 21st Century Poetry - October 2001,

Write-Away – Winter 01/02 & Panda No: 9 January 2002

Spring Haiku by Vivi Steels

Posted on April 4, 2015 at 7:10 PM

spring blossom


cherry blossom falls

filling sky with confetti

celebrating spring





essence of flowers

pollinates soft air with bees

whirling wings upwards


Published in Write-Away - Spring 2002

Illustrated with 'Spring Blossom' © Vivien Steels

Psychedelic by Vivi Steels

Posted on February 11, 2015 at 2:55 AM


I want to go somewhere;

somewhere there is sky

so blue, so vast,

it fills up my eyes

with sapphires of colour;

somewhere there are tents

made of red felt

singing in the desert winds;

a backdrop of undulating dunes

drifting gold across shifting sands;

somewhere there is sun,

so yellow, so warm,

it knits my bones together

and tickles my skin

with a honey-brown glow;

somewhere there are fields

rolling gorgeous green

over the backbone of hills;

holding its wild flowers up to sinking rain

streaming in from distant seas;

somewhere a kaleidoscope of shapes

whirls its frenzy into the retina

causing psychedelic auras to pulse;

mesmerising with a rhythm of colour

painting my mind with dreams.

Published in Moonstone 95 - August 2004

Illustrated with 'Tibetan Festival Costume' © Vivien Steels


New Year's Wish by Vivi Steels

Posted on January 2, 2015 at 6:20 AM

New Year’s Wish

Grey pearl sky shimmers

with hidden sun

above russet beech-hedge

keeping its old clothes

until a bright green costume

arrives five months later.

Buddleias and box

dress borders with evergreens

ready to reject winter’s grip

for the soft caress of spring

waiting in the wings

to dash, solo, into view

flinging primroses and daffodils

over grass and soil

before the mad hot days of summer

fizzle onto yellow-dead lawns.

Published in Nottingham University Creative and Professional Writing Anthology –

‘Into the River’ – June 2010

Christmas Wish for a Dog by Vivi Steels

Posted on December 3, 2014 at 6:50 AM

Christmas Wish for a Dog

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.

Illustrated with 'Christmas Walk' © Vivien Steels


Epitaph by Vivi Steels

Posted on November 10, 2014 at 6:50 AM

I have posted this poem today for Remembrance Day on 11th November.


If grass could bleed

what scars would be exposed

when wounds of battles,

now grown over

with meadows of time,

scythed their way

through trunks of bodies;

lopped, uprooted before maturity,

left bare before crows

and wuthering skies;

returning riches to nature’s soil.

Memories, entwined

with the wildest of flowers

amongst bonehard briars,

spread an ancient king’s epitaph

across early summer’s book.

Published in WRITE-AWAY – Spring 2003, Artists Without Frontiers 2004

& In Flanders Field Anthology – Forward Poetry Oct 14

Trawling by Vivi Steels

Posted on October 28, 2014 at 5:10 AM

‘Trawling’ was based on a dream I had which I recorded in my dream diary. It had a rather nightmarish quality to it, as in the cellar was an old sailor (wise man of the sea) mending the net of my heart (heart-broken?). A cellar can refer to your subconscious and water can refer to your emotional life. As there was a lot going on in my life then, mostly very difficult to deal with, this was one of those poignant dreams that stay with you for a long time after and mean something deep; deep as the ocean.




Sinking shut into sleep

silk-soft cotton mesmerises feet

to tiptoe hallways housing

damp-filled skirting boards,

mirrored doorways, wisped ceilings,

all signposting to secluded cellars

where one, inhabited,

breathes like a barnacle

clinging to the underbelly,

labyrinth of night starred with senses

and there he sits, silver as fish,

sand-blasted hand grasping

the hook of your heart,

pulling thread in and out,

mending the net,

re-designing the web that

will trawl the waters of the world

to drag salty words of treasure

into the limelight of your luminous eyes

from wild, wild mermaids.


Published in Popshot 10 - October 2013



Don't Leave Me by Vivi Steels

Posted on September 28, 2014 at 5:15 AM

Anyone who has owned a pet and is an animal lover knows only too well the terrible feelings of loss and grief when a beloved pet dies or has to be put to sleep. This is a very personal poem, but one which I think pet owners can identify with and was written when the pain of loss was very raw and the grieving process had just begun. It was written about Misty, my lovely grey fluffy cat, who is seen here helping me with my work.               (Misty - 19th October 1992 to 24th February 2006).



Don’t Leave Me


So this is the reason I am here –

this is what they do.


He was kind to me.

He examined my back legs.

I cried and tried to tell him.

She was holding me

and stroking my face,

tears dripping down onto my fur

like rain from leaves on the trees

in my beloved garden.

She signed a piece of white rustly paper,

then he gave me an injection.

I began to feel warm and fuzzy.

The pain in my legs began to recede.

She kept stroking me

and talking to me

but the only words I heard were

“Don’t leave me – I love you.

I’ve loved you every day for thirteen and a half years

and I don’t want to be without you.”

So this is what they do.


She bent over me and whispered.

I didn’t feel the second injection much,

but my beloved garden appeared,

sunlight rustling the leaves.

She was standing by my wooden bench

cuddling me in her arms

and I knew she’d never leave me…


Published in Animal Antics Anthology 2011 - Forward Press



Against Humanity by Vivi Steels

Posted on September 4, 2014 at 3:30 AM

I have been stunned and appalled by the events in Iraq and Syria. It reminded me of this poem I wrote in 1995 about the crimes against humanity in the second World War. This poem is written from the view-point of a survivor from Auschwitz. How can mankind keep repeating the same murderous mistakes? Don't we ever learn from history? Then there are the men and women who make it their life's work to bring perpetrators of genocide to justice...


Against Humanity


Ceaseless sea

womb of the world

weeps for those

spiked by swastikas –



Queues of blood-tied

cry for their kind;

showered by gas,

dusted by fire.


The beater, the gas man,

starver, death planner,

march like ghosts –

always at night –

up mountains of silken hair,

over spectacles of barbed wire,

down suitcases of names

stacked like tombstones

against my heaving heart.


Auschwitz – fifty years ago –

I have never left that hell.

I am still there.



I pray for dawn

in purgatory –

this blitzkrieg

circling humanity –

as some* bring

cattletrucks of crime

into the glare

of our time.


* Poem dedicated to Simon Wiesenthal


Published in CPR International 4 - October 2000, Write-Away – Spring 2002 & The World at War (anthology Forward Press Poetry) – September 2013



Field of Dreams by Vivi Steels

Posted on August 13, 2014 at 3:05 AM

The bus I catch to the centre of Nottingham stops at a piece of wasteland where purple buddleia, yellow ragwort and red poppies grow wild amidst the rocks, boulders and arid ground in the summer months.  It always catches my attention how nature will blossom and burgeon in the most inhospitable of environments and try to spread its beauty across ugliness.  This poem was written seven years ago and the wasteground is still the same.  It is such a pity as it would make a beautiful inner-city garden. 


Field of Dreams


The bus stopped.

Someone got on.

Someone got off.

Buildings clamoured

in grey, dusty voices

to rocks, lumps of sooty concrete,

spilling over edges of wasteground

where grass, fine, pale green,

erupted over bald earth,

surrounded stones to meet

plumes of purple above

batches of golden ragwort

bowing to scarlet poppies,

paper petals crumpling

in shoals of city gusts.


The bus stuttered,

surged forward,

its countryside destination

a mile or two away

brimming with lusciousness

a few days of rain brings,

inspiring wasteland

to be a meadow,

to be something more,

something different,

dreading piles of flats,

acres of bricks, yards of metal,

crushing its desire

to be living, verdant,

imprinted with wild flowers,

singing with butterflies,

turning barrenness into abundance.


The bus stopped

back at the wasteground.

Someone got off.

Someone got on.

Sun shot out from

a hedge of clouds

onto a field of dreams.


Published in Earth Love 31 - May 2009



School of the Heart by Vivi Steels

Posted on July 21, 2014 at 3:45 AM

School of the Heart


Come away with me

down country paths

sifted with leaves of green,

to adventure in fields

where lapwings call,

haystacks gild the horizon,

sky sips from blue water river

and trees stride over hills.


It is here

you can walk unfettered,

away from the cinderhills of sin,

away from barren goals,

away from money, pin numbers

and recorded options

to a lane frothed with cow parsley

lacing collars of white,

dusted with swallows’ tails,

stung with bumble bees

and blue butterflies

meandering their fragile life

with the meaning of beauty,

and reach the small schoolhouse

set within a grassy clearing.


Go on through the open door,

push up the casements

to let in scented air

wafted from woodfuls of bluebells -

for here you begin your heart’s work.


Previously published in Forward Press Poets 2008 (The Midlands)


Homesickness by Vivi Steels

Posted on July 2, 2014 at 3:00 AM

Homesickness has hit me at various times in my life. Like a hard cricket ball hurled with great force, I’ve caught it in my hand and felt the shock reverberate through my whole body. As a child, who loved being at home, when I was removed from it, I longed to be returned again with my mother, father and sister with all my familiar things arranged around me once more.

I have always found change difficult and the worst experience of homesickness was when I went to live away from home for the first time. In 1970 I left Nottingham to go to Reading University and Berkshire College of Education to study for a B.Ed. (Hons) degree in English Literature and Education – just after my father had died from leukaemia.

I can remember feeling utterly lost and that awful ache, similar to the thudding physical pain of loss and bereavement, settled into my being, so nothing seemed to reach me and I couldn’t reach out to anyone and anything either. A dream I had at this time echoed my state of mind. I was walking with a group of people along a country path with trees either side. The path ahead had a small wicker gate, which needed to be opened, but although everyone else opened and closed this gate easily, my method of getting beyond it was to try and crawl under the small space underneath it, which proved quite difficult and painful. Was I choosing a difficult path?

The scene changed to the seaside. I could see myself in the sea, which was very rough and choppy with huge waves crashing. I was only just able to keep my head above water…

I am not sure how long this lasted, because like looking out to sea, it seemed endless and the horizon of feeling happy kept receding into the distance. I did eventually begin to enjoy life away from home. That elusive horizon of happiness began to advance slowly towards me, resting within my grasp, but only with the suppression of that which was causing me pain.


Child by Vivi Steels

Posted on June 12, 2014 at 3:55 AM



Although this poem was written eleven years ago, I wanted to post it as it is very relevant to the ever-increasing accounts of child abuse which are being revealed each day.  I have tried to imagine what it would be like to be a child who is being/has been abused. 




I stare only at desolation,

eyes dead along with my heart;

body defiled long ago

when innocence should have reigned.

My soul was captured with image

flashed onto film, photographs, computer screen;

caught in a web worldwide

to be leered over

by men perverting natural love

of a father for his child

into an evil that

I should want this shame

thrust upon me,

to be sexually tortured,

should want this hell?


Let them, these men –

policemen, judges, prison officers,

teachers, MPs, nurses, doctors,

rock stars, celebrities, DJs,

lawyers, magistrates,

the man in the street with dirty raincoat -

let them feel one fraction of the fear

I feel every minute of every day

pinned to this rule of denigration

where depravity is king

and there is no escape;

no passport back to naïvety,

where I am used as a commodity –

a child.


Published in Write-Away - Spring 2003


Robin Returned by Vivi Steels

Posted on June 4, 2014 at 6:10 AM

Further to my post of May 29, my Robin re-appeared on the front lawn yesterday when Bill came to garden for us. He hopped all round the earth where Bill was digging and clearing weeds, collecting grubs coming very close. He came to my call and flew up in to the beech hedge and on to the bird table, dancing and twirling amongst the seeds. I saw him many more times in the afternoon and when I swept the front drive, down he flew near to the brushhead, fluttering up and down like a red leaf amongst the swirling dust and brown beech leaves. I am so pleased he is back.