Imagine reader, if you would,
Two bottles, labeled BAD and GOOD,
Both filled with fluid to the rim,
But different shades: one bright, one dim.
The surface of the BAD is bright
And bursts with bubbles, clean and light,
Everything to catch the eye
Is in this bottle, bubbling high.
The surface of the GOOD is very
Dim, and frankly, ordinary.
People who see it think it poor,
They take one glance, and then ignore.
But these dull folks don't understand,
That though the surface may be bland
And hasn't got a strong allure,
What's underneath might well be pure.
Shake each bottle, and then you'll see
A truer test of quality,
For only by testing can you know
The faults or virtues hid below.
Shake the BAD, and in dismay,
Watch its shimmer fade away;
The bubbles bubbling at the top
Last but a moment--then they pop.
The scum that rises soon holds sway
And turns angelic white to gray,
And golds and silvers change to blacks,
Shake once more--the bottle cracks.
Shake the GOOD, and then behold
What once looked meager, turn to gold;
Shake it harder, then you'll see
GOOD sparkle in its adversity.
No gaudy glitter here is found,
Just liquid pure, and clean, and sound,
Too rich and strong to melt in heat--
And if you taste it, it tastes sweet.
As in bottles, so in life we find
True worth ignored or shoved behind,
But though it has no earthly friend
Virtue conquers in the end.
Patient reader, I suppose
You'd like to read the rest in prose;
With this in mind, I won't delay,
But'll start the story straight away.
As with the bottles, so this tale
Shows badness strong and goodness pale,
But once we've read the final word
GOOD looks better⎯or so I've heard.
The story's filled with love and hate,
Princesses pure, and heroes late,
Amazing plots, athletic feats,
And drunken kings, and rogues, and cheats,
And sudden twists--the plot's careening--
(Below the surface is the meaning)
And evil plans and evil deeds
Spring up like plants from poisonous seeds.
Good reader, if you wish to gauge
The tale correctly, turn the page,
Then read it through--it won't take long--
So quit this poem and come along.