William Blake’s Palette

A favourite colour.

I know a shady individual

who’s always on the make.

Claims to be an art expert

but he’s a well known rake.


Says he’s got an original

painting by William Blake

but you have the suspicion

that it could well be a fake.


We know that this artist

did use linseed oil to make

pigments like Prussian blue,

gamboge and madder lake,


Vermillion, yellow ochre,

bone black and lead sulfate.

Although he painted in oil

his watercolours do captivate.


He was also a famous engraver

who made illuminated prints

that were finely illustrated

with a range of distinctive tints.


If I am asked to choose a colour

I don’t need to examine a million,

I’ve already made my mind up

and my favourite is Vermillion.


This vivid shade is prominent

on William Blake’s old palette

There is a small bird, a passerine,

that also has the same epithet,


it’s the Vermillion flycatcher

with a reddish orange breast

which, of all feathered friends,

without any doubt is the best.




© Luigi Pagano 2021




















© ionicus 2023
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Luigi, this line jars a little – There is bird, a small passerine, – in an otherwise excellent poem.



I pressed “Post” too quickly and thought I had made a suggestion. My error. I was thinking along the lines of:

“There is a small bird, a passerine…”

In your original the omission of the article “a” just stops the reader after “bird”, but then that could have been your intention.

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