Poem: “The Colorful Bottle and the Genie”

The Colorful Bottle and the Genie
(A Parable)

Some called it a lantern,
When a candle was placed in it
To set off its colors like errant rainbows

Cut glass sapphire blues, ruby reds and emerald greens
Once reflected
A room’s lit chandeliers and flickering candles

Others called it a vase
When it held rare flowers
On the mantle

But really it was just a colorful bottle
Whose undoing had been one great fall
Damaged just enough

Its glass pieces now chipped, scratched, or missing-
Its once shimmering gold outlines and filigrees
Dull and corroded in the outdoor elements

Discarded in the woods
No longer receiving long gazes
Drawing ‘oohs,’ and ‘ahhs’

Former eyes
Greedy for beauty
Turned away in a huff

For a long time it lay on the ground
Not fighting its change of fortunes
Not moving at all

One day, in the warmth of the sun
A powerful genie like a gentle cloudy vapor,
Filled the broken bottle

It noticed that the genie carried with it a lovely light
That shone through the chipped colored glass pieces
Now even its gold seemed less dull

“A lie!” swore the bottle

The bottle rolled back and forth in the winds
To unsettle and dislodge the genie
The genie stayed

“Obnoxious!” thought the bottle

It thought it heard the genie laugh softly
But having no ears to hear,
It wondered how it had heard

It rolled itself under the brush
A worthless bottle

Fall rains came,
Dead leaves collected in the brush
The bottle was buried alive

The bottle dared not move
Lest it encourage the genie
The genie stayed

Cold winter days came,
Dark winds
Heavy snows froze the bottle

Spring thaws came
The bottle thought the waters that filled it
Would drown the genie

But the genie stayed firm
The bottle began to admire
The steadfast genie

One day it was the bottle that laughed softly
With admiration for the genie
It heard itself, and knew that now it had ears to hear

It reminded itself that it was the genie
That now made the bottle
Beautiful with its light

The bottle, plain though it was, took its place out in the open
Marveling at the genie’s light
That shone through its brokenness.

Michele Marie

Michele Marie is a poet and creative writer from Illinois.
To read more, go to Michele Marie's Poetry by the Fireside Blog at