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This poem is taken from PN Review 132, Volume 26 Number 4, March - April 2000.

Cascavel Ruth Padel

We want to see how gems get made in Rio.
How jewel-hunters of Brazil are feather-probing,
As we speak, the red-earth mines
And those shadow-dancing caves and mountain streams,
    Where mythic venom-pushers like the fer de lance
Are ambushing nine (at least) species of gold and emerald frog
From under fallen logs. How rotating knife-wheels,
Dusted with diamond, release the voodoo-shine

Of morganite from ruddy gobs of neo-slingshot.
How you tell a good one by comparing it to master stones
    Picked out by crytstallographers. We want
Jewel-surgeons, droves of them, in action,
Making the perfect cut. 'Marquise', 'Brilliante', 'Classic Drop'.

Well - fine. We get the lot. An eyeful of Brazilian tourmaline
In pink, blue, yellow, green. Citrine, to see off nightmares.
Amethyst, keeping you sober whatever the alcohol
Consumed. Emeralds with veins like fern,
...


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