Message in a Bottle

October 16, 2007


This is a Writer’s Island prompt that I do not know what to do with.  But I want to play in the sun and sand so maybe we’ll have to walk a bit down the shore to discover the significance I can pull from the archetypal object washed up on the shore.  Hearing Sting’s insistent refrain resound in my head I ask you about the messages you have received from distant lands, those scribblings of mystery that have marked upon your soul.

“I’m still waiting for one”, you say looking away.

We walk further down the shore the wind pushing our bodies onward and protecting our ears from the deepening silence. “I thought I found one once”, you say, “walking on a beach one night I stepped on a wine bottle tucked under the sand.  I picked it up reflexively, another piece of trash to throw away.  Carrying it, letting it swing with the movement of my arms I began to imagine that there was something more to my discovery.  Anyone could have walked on this beach and picked up this bottle but I happened to be the one–our meeting was meant to be.  What did this glass container have to say to me?  Was I looking too much into what was probably just someones remnants of a drunken night?”

I said nothing in reply and you continued, “I don’t know.  When I got home I still had the bottle with me and in the light could see a tattered Merlot label hanging from the glass.  No piece of paper inside just wet sand.  I put it up on the windowsill and the next day I cut a few flowers added some water and placed them in the bottle.  I don’t know if I’ll ever get a message in a bottle but still I received a gift from the sea.  The daisies looked nice in the window.”

I smiled.  Grateful for the story and glad I did not have to think up a prompt response for this weekly romp on the island.


9 Responses to “Message in a Bottle”

  1. jillypoet Says:

    Very clever. The message that is not a message. This could start a whole line of debate about whether or not we are aware of the messages that life puts in our way…

  2. jillypoet Says:

    PS: As a student, you might be interested in trying our first prompt over at

    We are working on poetic statements. I wrote my first one when I was in grad school.

  3. Matthew Says:

    Thanks jillypoet, I’ll check it out. Perhaps messages are always coming at us and we just need it in the right package to recognize it.

  4. Paris Parfait Says:

    Yes, a gift from the sea nevertheless. Lovely.

  5. I agree with jillypoet, this is a clever story, almost a story within a story. It could be a true tale, or made up. The reader gets lured into the words, and goes along for the ride.

    Maybe the message is to make use of what you have or find along life’s journey.

  6. paisley Says:

    sometimes “settling” is the best chance we have and to accept that and make it beautiful… that is a gift….

  7. Each moment in life contains a message. The onus is on us to decipher it.

  8. Tumblewords Says:

    Clever fits well! Provocative and well written.

  9. UL Says:

    Simple yet mysterious …and such a wonderful gift. Thanks for sharing.

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