Reaching for Labels

There was a row of bottles gleaming
On her shelf.  She used to reach up
On tiptoe, to pick one.  She liked to
Read the explanations on the labels,
Try the cordial on the tongue and 
Decide which one she liked best.

But often, in between that grasping 
Of glass, and the manoeuvering down
To eye-height, a bottle would 
Shift in her hand, vanish, and 
Re-appear on another part of the shelf
Where it sat aloof and self-contained
As if the label said 'Don't Drink Me'.
It was most annoying.

Each time she made her choice, 
And tried to take one down, 
She would open her hand to discover
The bottle had gone.
All her anticipation was in vain
For as time when on she couldn't even
Touch one, it would slide out of reach
As her fingers neared.

She couldn't understand why her favourite
Pastime had been stopped.  She would gaze in 
Incomprehension at the fistful of night which flew
When she opened her hand, a bottle's manoeuvering
Ensured she had nothing to touch, taste, or deduce,
Nothing to do.
There was no explanation for it and it was
So very annoying.

The bottles, left to their own devices,
Gathered dust with misuse but were 
Quite happy writing their own labels,
Devising new remedies for old ills
And talking amongst themselves.
Her visits had been a nuisance indeed, they agreed,
For their cordials were precious 
And should not have been abused.
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