True blue?

It’s old, blue, expensive and was used in the eyes of the 25th-century BC statue of Ebih-Il, a praying man. But can it do you any good? (There are two ways to pronounce the final vowel of ‘lazuli’: I have used the ‘ee’ version here.)

It’s beautiful and deepest blue;
It looks so good, it can’t be true!
Recorded in antiquity,
Its name is . . . lapis lazuli.

From old Archean rocks it’s mined; examine it, and you will find
That lovely lapis lazuli has metamorphic ancestry.
(It’s lazurite that gives the hue which colours lapis richly blue,
This mineral making up, you see, the bulk of lapis lazuli).

Ultramarine, prepared from lapis,
Was used by master painter chappies:
Van Gogh, Vermeer and Titian, too,
Impressed rich clients with lapis blue.

Some claim, in all sincerity, that wearing lapis lazuli
Brings inner power, relief from pain, and helps you concentrate again.
Your ‘higher mind’ is activated, psychic powers concentrated;
Your inner dreams will come to be, by sporting lapis lazuli . . .

Well, I’m a rational sort of chap
And all that stuff’s a load of rubbish.
I’d rather trust geology
To characterise lapis lazuli!

[Image of Ebih-Il’s eyes: Wikimedia]
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