Poem for a Green Bottle and a Candle Held Together with Tape

Rene Magritte Explanation

I wrote this poem years ago during a writing exercise in graduate school, while pregnant with my first child. Reading E. T. A. Hoffman’s Gothic stories around that time may have had something to do with that foreboding ending…

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Poem for a Green Bottle and a Candle Held Together with Tape

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Who has ever seen darkness
glowing from inside?
Glass giving in to flame?  Who
has ever seen my reflection
in the green waves?
Wax drips on cold, sinuous
curves.             This is not
one of Magritte’s bottles,
lined up for execution.
Its candle doesn’t burn
for a dead or lost soul.
It’s a simple green bottle.
I am simple and green.
It holds its fruit that will slowly
die out.  I hold mine
that is quickly growing.
It’s strange how beauty
can be put together
with a piece of tape.
Behind the glass wall,
the homunculus spins
faster and faster.

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First published in Clockwise Cat, Spring/Summer issue 2014

14 thoughts on “Poem for a Green Bottle and a Candle Held Together with Tape

Add yours

  1. I love all things Gothic and Magritte, and the title of your poem was an immediate hook for me, Romana! I especially love the oxymoron in the opening lines and the lines:
    ‘…This is not
    one of Magritte’s bottles,
    lined up for execution.
    Its candle doesn’t burn
    for a dead or lost soul.
    It’s a simple green bottle’
    and
    ‘the homunculus spins
    faster and faster’.
    Chilling!
    :

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for the lovely comment, Kim–so glad it drew you in! I didn’t mention in the introduction that the writing exercise consisted of focusing on a wine bottle that held a burning candle. I loved that combination so much that for years after I used wine bottles as candlesticks. I know that’s not at all unusual, but it hadn’t occurred to me before graduate school. That and–well, other things. Magritte’s ‘This is not a pipe’ is another barely there influence in this poem.

      Liked by 1 person

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