Gallery Vallery, official site of Valerie Russell
Poetry by Valerie Russell ©

Bright sun, clear sky, curious people passing by
The artist sits and sketches on, oblivious to everyone

A canvas that was once stretched white, now comes to life with blues and greens
The artist’s hand moves faster now, excited by the changing scene

The water dances, filled with life, just by a brush-stroke here and there
A river bank of goldenrod and daisies peeking everywhere

Each colour added one by one, then, mixed to make it all just right
A tint; a tone; a value – all by adding black or white

The trees have greens and browns; reds and golds of every hue
Then with artistic license comes a dab of ‘perfect blue’

A final touch, the perfect frame – stand back and breathe a final sigh
“I’ll buy it!” – SOLD! the artist says, to the curious person passing by!

Another canvas stretched pure white, as empty as the one before
The artist’s brush is poised again, to recreate the scene once more!


I sit beside this running stream
and see my life as in a dream
I sit alone, not lonely I, reflecting life
and days gone by

More friends have I than e’er before who welcome me
and teach me more than I have ever known
Sweet dream, sweet stream, running fast, running past me
as I sit, reflecting on……

(On Pickering Standard Methodist Church - Brougham, Ontario)

My wanderings took me far today ‘neath skies of azure blue
White windswept clouds above me, as I stopped to admire the view

A Church that brought back memories of childhood days now gone
Long, long ago, in simpler days, ah….the memory lingers on

Days spent inside a church like this, no cares to burden me
Just hymns to sing and prayers to pray and beauty there to see

I hear the choir on the wind, their voices sweet and clear
and feel that God has beckoned me and with purpose brought me here

The years have passed and I no longer join to sing the songs
Yet in my heart remains a part of me that still ‘belongs’

The clouds above are turning grey and urging me along
but I would dearly love to stay and hold the memory strong!

Perhaps I will return one day and enter through these doors
and take me back to childhood days, to sing and pray, once more.

(An ode to Robert Burns and Scotland)

I do not speak the Scottish brogue
For I was born in England
But in another life I may have lived
amidst the hills of Scotland

For I am drawn to Scotland’s hills
as though they were my home
And each time that I visit there
I simply want to roam
along the shores of Scotland’s lochs
and visit every Isle
And linger long down by the burns
and walk the braes awhile

Perhaps I knew of Robert Burns
Perchance I was his lover?
for his poetry has captured me
and I know of no other poet who
can touch my heart, and fill my mind with pleasure
or fill me up with words that only he alone would treasure!

As one artist to another,
Though one’s gone, and one’s still living
I thank the Lord for all the beauty that
Robert Burns’ today’s still giving

For all the words that I have heard
and all the Scottish accents
Surround my life and I have learned
to love them without question!

To all my friends, and my man’s friends
and though you may be Scottish!
I am but an English “Sassenach”
BUT, aren’t we ALL just BRITISH!!


Equipped with sketch pad, camera, brush & paint
I’ve traveled over landscapes far and near
Searching for the perfect scene to paint
The end result will be to bring them here

**“Admiring nature in her wildest grace
These worldly scenes with weary feet I’ve traced
O’er many a winding dale and painful steep
the abodes of friendly cows and timid sheep
My savage journeys, curious, I’ve persued
‘til famous landscapes opened to my view
The meeting cliffs each deep-sunk glen divides
The woods, wild scattered, clothe their ample sides

The outstretched lakes embosomed midst the hills
My eyes with wonder and amazement fills
The streams meandering sweet in infant pride
Tree covered cliffs arise on every side

Lawns, wood-fringed in nature’s native taste
with hillocks dropped in nature’s careless haste
I’ve wandered, striding past the new-born streams
through villages glittering in the noontide beams”**

If you enjoy the scenes before your eyes
Imagine how I’ve brought them all to life
By sketching, painting, tirelessly I try
to capture land and creature, sea and sky!

And if the pleasure felt transfers to you,
I’ll have accomplished all I tried to do!

**with apologies to Robert Burns


They say that Christmas is for children
But I know that isn’t true
‘Cause Christmas is for everyone
Including me and you!

For weren’t we all just children once
In the good old days, now gone
And weren’t we all excited too
When Christmas came along?

Playing in the pageants
Singing carols ‘round the fire
Listening to the Christmas story
And joining with the choir

Making angels in the snow
Dressing the tree with lights
Waiting eagerly for Santa Claus
To bring us toys on Christmas night!

Sharing with our sisters and our brothers
All the fun!
Or rushing to share with all our friends
Before the day was done!

But now it’s Bah! And Humbug
And we wish it were all through
We hate shovelling snow
We hate crowded malls, with the
Pushing and shoving you!

But, we are still God’s children
So before we forget and lose sight
Of the wonderful meaning of Christmas
I just want to set you right!

Christmas is for giving & sharing
With all of our family and friends
Thank God for His gift
Give your spirits a lift
Face the days with a smile
And you’ll feel in a while…….

That you’ll never want Christmas to end!


The words are all inside my head I cannot pry them loose
I want to write these words and thoughts but my heart cries “What’s the use?”
I stand before you stripped of pride for I cannot read these words you write

I never learned to read or write, what did I need it for?
Letters could not help me fight in a country still at war!

I am not dumb for I can speak a hundred thousand words
Yet cannot tell when written down which one of them is heard

Please talk to me and I will tell of twenty skills or mare
That I have learned and each one different than the one before!
But do not ask for me to write each skill that you will see
as listed in that resume…(my friend wrote it for me!)

I’ll answer all your questions with honesty and you
will find that I do all the things your ‘job’ would have me do
One chance is all that I require to prove to you I can
do all these things and more for you, just please, give me this chance!

A handshake now, “We’ll be in touch”, you walk me to the door
I’ll wait in vain for I have walked this road ten times and more

My luck may change tomorrow, for I’m learning now each night
The “extra” skills that I must have – the skills to READ & WRITE!

The above is a winning poem.
Adult Category – Theme = “World Literacy”