In a new poem, "Pastorals in the Atrium," which appeared in the most recent issue of Poetry Magazine, Canadian Sadiqa de Meijer uses the word verdigris in her opening stanza, writing:

The tour has only started when
I’m ambushed by that flat-lined verdigris I’d know even
as a stumbling sleepwalker: landschap
with tin river, cleaver of sodden pastures — 

Poems are great places to mine for interesting and unfamiliar words. But sometimes those words can function like blazes on a trail. Miss one, and you're lost.

Take verdigris as an example: It means either a blue-green color, or the tarnish of a blue-green shade that appears on bronze, brass, and copper metals. (Think of those pennies you occasionally find in the back of a drawer that have turned blue with age.) Here, verdigris gives the impression not just of blue-green highlights, but of the browns and bronzes that appear in landscape paintings as well.

By making use of verdigris, de Meijer is able to nail down an image rich in color associations in three short syllables…assuming her reader's vocabulary is up to the task. Which now yours is!/p>