Smaragd, that emerald sound: ptygmatic,
Folded, metamorphic consonants
Crust in the mouth, viscous and vatic
With what they tell of rasps and emollients.
Lithic pronouncements have symmetries that gleam,
But syllables, polygonals, grind down to green;
Gems crumble into lisps, mere condiments.
The trouble with diamonds is, hard as they are, that they
Are soft in their settings of platinum tridents —
Too hard for ambiguity, for come-what-may,
Unpracticed in the unforeseen with damping, with silence.
For how are brilliants armed but with a spray
Too fleet for arguments, a weak response to magma
That overwhelms in time and heat their stagnance.
And only compare to emerald’s cold — hexagonal, languid —
The ruby’s bold-red, faceted-meaning, sanguine
Rival word to countermand smaragdine.
NOTES for Students of English
Smaragd – (Pronounced either sma-RAGD or SMA-ragd)
An old word for emerald.
Ptygmatic – (Pronounced tig-MAT-ik) Tight or dense folds in formerly flowing rock veins.
Metamorphic – In geology, rocks changed by the action of heat and pressure into a more compact, highly crystalline form.
Vatic – Prophetic.
Emollient – (Pronounced e-MOL-yent) Something that softens or soothes.
Lithic – Pertaining to stone.
Polygonal – (Pronounced pa-LIG-o-nal) Pertaining to a polygon (pronounced POL-ee-gon) –
a 2-dimensional shape formed by three or more straight lines.
Trident – Here, a 3-pronged holder.
Come what may – No matter what happens, in any event.
Unpracticed – Not skillful, inexperienced.
Damping – Action to counteract and decrease vibration; shock absorption.
Brilliants – Gems cut with numerous facets so as to have increased sparkling brightness.
Fleet – Here, bright but brief; fleeting.
Magma – Molten rock inside the earth. Diamonds, which form deep in the earth, are carried to the surface by magma.
Stagnance – A variant of “stagnancy,” the quality of being stagnant – not flowing; not moving ahead; motionless; inactive.
Hexagonal – (Pronounced hek-SAG-a-nal) In general, having six sides and six angles; in mineralogy, referring to the crystal system that includes emeralds.
Sanguine – (Pronounced SAN-gwin)
1) The color of blood, red;
2) confident, optimistic;
3) having a reddish complexion.
Countermand – To give an opposing order.
Smaragdine – (Pronounced sma-RAG-din) Pertaining to emeralds.