In the rain when I paint this bay I shall place no black on my canvas

In the rain when I paint this bay I shall place no black on my canvas,

For black there is none in the great sweep of the bay:

There are lines of white at the surf-edge, and flashes of white for sea-birds,

But the sea and the land alike are in tones of grey:

Smoky-pale gloss grey, thick and dusky matt grey,
Olive-grey, ash-grey and sleek wet rat grey —
Show me what you see here, and I will show you that grey.
At the last when I paint my life I shall lay no white on the canvas,

For white there is none in the whole sweep of the way:

There are black years in the background, and black fears on the sky-line,

But I move at the best between them through moods of grey:

Smudge grey, glint grey, marble smooth and flat grey,
Dove-grey, wolf-grey, silky silver cat grey —
Show me what you see here, and I will show you that grey.
But today I shall paint this day without black or white on my canvas,

I shall set my palette with never a shade of grey:

From the high arch of the rainbow to the sun-blaze on the wave-bed,

The fresh clear colours of light have flooded the day:

Glimmer green, shimmer blue, break of April day tints,
Fixed flame and running gold, sunset on the bay tints,
Till today is yesterday we dare forget the grey tints.
I got this from Marion on April 24th 1977; and I read it at her funeral. J.S.