Tag Archives: pearl

Are Diamonds Deadly?


Recently a friend of mine reminded me that ‘diamonds are forever’, this, for those who don’t know it, is a take on the famous De Beers slogan: A diamond is forever, coined in 1947 that has since then been hijacked by others. 

Diamonds are thought to wield powerful astrological influences over the wearer. This was something I didn’t believe in, until a series of incidents – very like those in this story – happened to me. Those incidents prompted me to write this tale, now here for yu to enjoy, believe in or not…

Diamonds are forever. Diamonds are for beauty. And diamonds are for death, despair and misery.

The tiny shards of diamonds were set in silver. A little floral pattern with, at the centre, a single, soft, lustrous pearl. At certain angles the diamond dust would catch the light and then it seemed as if a thousand stars burst forth twinkling and winking in a silver night sky. At other times a ray of sunlight would be snatched unawares and shattered into a prismatic kaleidoscope; flashing and burning, the aching carbon screaming out in silence at the agony through which it was made, then hacked at to produce a diamond to adorn some trinket to delight; whilst this, this bit of dust might just have been forgotten, had not the jeweller carefully collected it and positioned it into this flower, this ring of pain; to adorn or pay homage to a pearl—yet another product of injury.

No wonder then, that this combination of hurt and insult, pain and torture should bear a sullen grudge against humankind. Together this exquisite combination of diamond dust and pearls conspired to weave a deadly web. Spinning and whirling a million microscopic electro‑magnetic atoms were set dancing around first one flower and then another in ever widening ripples, unseen and unfelt by anything animate. This impassioned dervish like dance was somehow able to set off mild imbalances which could sometimes go off at a manic tangent…

The web was spinning. The trap was set.

The diamonds shone, in spite of being mere dust their combined sparkling could easily have been the envy of anything near a carat. Meanwhile, the luminescence of the pearls was like a softly beckoning beacon. The lady looked at them, passed them over and looked at them again…all of a sudden they seemed to be the most beautiful things she had ever seen. Was the angle right? Was a skein of light ever caught so daintily? Or, did a sudden alteration of electricity in the air set the ‘web’ spinning extra specially just for her? No one would ever know. But, one step in a certain direction leads fatefully to another and another.

Other pearls were seen. Garnets passed through her hands as though in a daze. Bright green emeralds, corals, more pearls, opals, rubies… opals, rubies… but her eyes and her hands kept straying back to that dainty set of pearls and diamond dust, diamond dust and…

”I’ll take it,” she said, “This and only this!”.

Clutching the set close to her, her heart beating just a little bit more rapidly, her eyes shining; she hurried home feeling slightly guilty as if she had done something wrong. But what it was, she wasn’t sure.

The malevolence of that beautiful combination went into action

the very next day. The lady woke up with a sense of unease, as if she had been involved in an illegal assignation. Alongwith it a mild headache. “Oh, It’s nothing!,” she thought, “Why should I feel so wretchedly guilty about it?”. And the diamonds were put impatiently out of her mind. Other more pressing problems were at hand and needed to be dealt with immediately. As the day wore on, and the evening drew near her spirits rose.

Her cheeks were flushed and her eyes took on a heightened lustre. That evening she would wear the set. What should she wear to go with it?

She dressed, all a‑glow The pearly pink of her dress imparted a blush to her entire body and she exuded a kind of youth and ebullience she had not felt in a long, long while. The world was wonderful and somehow she was at its centre. And, holding her there on its silvery, sparkling, adamantine threads was her floral set of diamond dust and pearls—on her ears, on her hand and at her throat.

Later that evening, just at the moment when she felt that she had attained a pinnacle of emotion between herself and a kind of void that could only be thought of as the whole world, something snapped!

A minor quarrel with her husband. It marred the feeling of giddy perfection, as if a pin had scratched a mirror. Strangely. Indelibly. A sudden shrinking within herself was all that she could feel, or put her finger on.

Days came and went in a blur. Nothing seemed wrong, but nothing seemed quite right either. Deep within her heart a pin‑point of pain was minutely growing.

Her son fell ill. Something he hadn’t done for years. Feverishly she battled to bring the high night-time temperatures down. Every night for six nights she fought the fever with cold compresses and medicines. Pre‑dawn on the seventh day, from nowhere came the thought, ”Are diamonds unlucky?” Then, she said to herself, ”Nonsense, this kind of thinking is superstitious rubbish.” Her son recovered. He looked pale, but he did seem better.

Her daughter followed. A fever, a cold, a strange listlessness.

And the thought crept into her mind again: “Are diamonds deadly?” And again she brushed it off. Impatient with herself. But, now the thought bounced around in her mind like a fly. Like a fly caught in a web.

Mid‑sentence she stopped someone, mid‑sentence, discussing the weather, she shot it out, “Are diamonds unlucky?” Mid‑sentence, mid‑stream, mid‑thought.

“Yes,” came the astonishingly confident reply. “Yes”, it rang out like a death knoll clanging like a horrible bell through the hollow caverns of her being, ringing death and destruction, “YES”, then almost softly, ”I have heard something, do you remember the Hope diamond?”

Hope? There was no hope, never mind that hope was only a family name. There was no hope at all. It surely had to go. No. That was rubbish. Superstitious, foolish, middle‑ages‑type nonsense.

And yet the thought persisted, making her head ache.

‘Are diamonds unlucky?

Remember the Hope diamond?

But this is only dust.

But it is diamond dust.

Some diamonds are forever.

Is bad luck forever?



Diamonds are for death.

Diamonds are for despair.



The diamonds must go!

But they didn’t. They lay there. Silently maliciously spinning, weaving their intricate pattern of destruction. Rippling out quietly, persistently, continuously. Setting her world just slightly askew. No matter what she did or whatever happened, if it was undesirable, the diamonds would flash winking horrid and gleaming in her mind’s eye. And she would shake her head as if to rid her mind of an ever‑growing tangle that seemed slowly inexorably to mar her vision of the world.

A few weeks later her mother came to stay. Her heart grew tight as if with a sense of foreboding. Not more than two days had elapsed when it came down upon her heart with a thud. Her mother developed a sudden fever. Hack it went at her, ‘hack’ at her heart, “Get rid of the diamonds.”

Her mother’s fever rose in spite of all the medication. Bathe her brow. Give her water. Do something…Get rid of the diamonds.

It went at her like a hammer, sparkling in some stygian light, ringing out in the night, through her sleep, through her vigil, through the dark, through the light.

Finally she could take it no longer. She grabbed the tiny black box, ran with it back to the jeweller, and burst out…”Get rid of…get rid of it…” The tears streamed down her face. Her body trembled as if from a terrible effort.

The deed was done. And after a while a kind of calm settled upon her. That day the cause of her mother’s fever was diagnosed and treated correctly. But, not before the old lady was made to witness the spectacle of the shadow of Death’s face before she was flung palpitating, back into life. She was drained temporarily of all her strength, while her daughter watched helplessly aware of only one thing…a last malevolent flicker of diamond dust, still winking enticingly at her, before an empty darkness   settled into a corner of her mind.

In a Bay off old Muharraq


This poem was submitted to Lucid Rhythms – an online magazine – and when he accepted it, that was the first time I began to hope that there were still venues that would accept ‘rhyming’ and metric poems.

I don’t know the journey that the genre has taken ever since I last studied it, but in my humble – and not so elevated opinion – any art that needs excessive analysing and interpreting and that can’t or doesn’t connect with people is somewhere missing the point.

In a bay off old Muharraq

Lies an ancient wooden Sambuk

That still goes out on moonless nights

Searching for th’ eternal light

And the master of the Sambuk

Who’s the master of that Sambuk?

A ghost, a wraith, a memory

Singing songs like Fidjeri.


And who is it that sits beside him?

Playing on the double hand drum?

Drumming on the mirwas lightly

While the Sambuk skips so spritely

Across the waves out to the sea

Recalling ancient memory?

Why he too is a distant past

That’s lost forever, lost alas!


And what is it they hope to find

Tossed along by wind and mind?

Why it’s the lulu treasured pearl

‘Durrat’ more prized than any girl.

And so the divers scythe the waves

Seeking what we all so crave

To bury hatred, soothe the pain

So we can all be one again.


And all who live upon this isle

Wherever he or she may come from

Join together, hug and smile

And truly say, “Salaam alaikum.”


Note: Fidjeri is an old Arabian Gulf/ Khaleeji pearl divers’ song, mirwas is the double handed drum that pearl divers used on their dhows (like the Sambuk) the lulu is the word for pearl in Arabic and Durrat is a particularly highly prized pearl. Muharraq is the second major island of the archipelago that constitutes the Kingdom of Bahrain. The poem is not political but expresses the desire to recreate a more friendly unified time in Bahrain. Salaam alaikum means ‘peace be upon you’.

Job 28:1


Two things happened. I received, as i regularly do, a reading from the Bible Job 28:1 (There are mines where silver is dug; There are places where gold is refined. 2 We dig iron out of the ground And melt copper out of the stones) and found the imagery wonderful and truly quite awesome. Then a day or two later I read about the Onegin Stanza also called a Pushkin Sonnet.  With these two influences buzzing around in my head I have created the following piece with two Onegin stanzas ending in a set.

I hope it works for you, although I think a modern free verse attempt may have captured the grandiose emotions a bit better. Perhaps another day.

There are mines where silver is dug, and found

Places where our gold is refin’d

We dig for iron right out of the ground

And stones we melt for copper to find

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