September 16, 2008



ADAMANTINE – adj. poetic/literary unbreakable.

This is an interesting word because of its roots.  Elsewhere, adamantine is another name for the mythical material adamant or adamantium.  Adamant was a legendary mineral associated with diamonds and lodestone.  Supposed to be nearly indestructible and references to it pop up in all sorts of popular media.  For me, the first example that comes to mind is Wolverine from the X-men; he had adamantium grafted to his skeleton.  For other popular references to adamant check out the wikipedia page.

And here are a couple of examples of the poetic use of the word:

Emily Dickinson (1830–86).  Complete Poems.  1924.
Part Four: Time and Eternity  



How many times these low feet staggered,
Only the soldered mouth can tell;
Try! can you stir the awful rivet?
Try! can you lift the hasps of steel?
Stroke the cool forehead, hot so often,
Lift, if you can, the listless hair;
Handle the adamantine fingers
Never a thimble more shall wear.
Buzz the dull flies on the chamber window;
Brave shines the sun through the freckled pane;
Fearless the cobweb swings from the ceiling—
Indolent housewife, in daisies lain!


Rupert Brooke (1887–1915).  Collected Poems. 1916.
I. 1905–1908
12. Failure
Because God put His adamantine fate
  Between my sullen heart and its desire,
I swore that I would burst the Iron Gate,
  Rise up, and curse Him on His throne of fire.
Earth shuddered at my crown of blasphemy,
  But Love was as a flame about my feet;
  Proud up the Golden Stair I strode; and beat
Thrice on the Gate, and entered with a cry—
All the great courts were quiet in the sun,
  And full of vacant echoes: moss had grown
Over the glassy pavement, and begun
  To creep within the dusty council-halls.
An idle wind blew round an empty throne
  And stirred the heavy curtains on the walls.

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