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A Poison Tree -- William Blake

Guest poem sent in by Vivian Eden
(Poem #1087) A Poison Tree
 I was angry with my friend:
 I told my wrath, my wrath did end.
 I was angry with my foe:
 I told it not, my wrath did grow.

 And I water'd it in fears,
 Night & morning with my tears;
 And I sunned it with smiles,
 And with soft deceitful wiles.

 And it grew both day and night,
 Till it bore an apple bright;
 And my foe beheld it shine,
 And he knew that it was mine,

 And into my garden stole
 When the night had veil'd the pole:
 In the morning glad I see
 My foe outstretch'd beneath the tree.
-- William Blake
           from "Songs of Experience"

Taking off from the subject of friendship, Blake goes into the nature of
enmity. There is no one like Blake for talking about the darker emotions --
anger, hatred, Schadenfreude. The "apple bright" in the garden brings to
mind the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil; Man is crueller
than  the God of Genesis and inflicts death rather than banishment from


111 comments: ( or Leave a comment )

Dsyharrelson said...

Can anyone tell me what is meant in the 4th stanza, "when the night had
veiled the pole;"
I am a bit lost on what he is referring to...any suggestions would be great,

crazyy99 said...

The line in William Blake's A Poison Tree, when he says "When the night had veiled the pole", Pole means sky, so he means, when the night covered the sky or when the sky got dark.

Daeton Chang said...

Hi. I'm doing a worksheet for my english class that deals with the poem A
Poison Tree. The poet's name is William Blake.I don't really understand
what the poem is about. I've read the poem over and over but I still don't
understand what it means. Could you please give me a in-depth summary of
each stanza? Thank you very much.

Sincerely, Daeton

Clem Byard said...

Hi Vivian,
You say this poem sees: "Man is crueller than the God of Genesis and inflicts death rather than banishment from
Paradise." Blake seems to say in some of his other poems that there is no other God apart from the one we meet in other people. Also I think I see death and banishment from paradise as the same thing, something along the lines of Milton with "the fruit of that forbidden tree whose mortal taste brought death into the world, and all our woe...."
Regards, Clem B.


I am also doing a paper on The Poison Tree, but don't really understand it.


I would really appreciate if someone could briefly explain each stanza in its entirety. Thank you!

Jasper Gilmour said...

Stop trying to get your work done for you, no one is going to explain the whole poem for your.

Jeesper Gilmoor

greg patterson said...

hey jeesper. stop being an asshole. I bet that person was kind of upset that you told them that they don't deserve any help. They were just trying to understand the poem. Now go make yourself feel more intellegent, go to every poetry website you can find where people are looking for help and leave comments similar to: " no! of coarse you cannot recieve help on the internet! how dare you! certainly you don't understand because you are not like I, who has an unfathomable capacity to interpret every piece of literature known to man. without any help of coarse." I'm sure they will all reconsider their motives for using online poetry comment boards, taking into consideration how strongly you disagree with their methods of gathering information. Now have a fabulous day, go fall off a cliff.

kleeyong said...

Lol! Greg is funnie!! Anyway, I’ll try to help, but I’m only 15, n it
might not b very good…
In the first stanza, Blake tells us that when he told his
“wrath” – the person he was angry with, his friend- that he was angry
with him, they resolved the issue, and his anger dissipated. However, he
could not do the same with his foe, keeping his anger a secret, hiding
it under a façade of indifference. Hence, his wrath grew, as a seedling
into a tree, the feeding on his hatred and fear, thriving in his
hypocrisy, “And I sunned it with smiles, and with soft deceitful wiles.”
and vicious thoughts. As it was nurtured with “poisonous” intentions, it
became “a poison tree” as in the title. After manifesting itself into a
tree, his wrath bore a seemingly harmless fruit- the apple. This apple
was, “bright”, having an attractive “shine” and tempting his foe. His
foe then crept into his “garden” without the poet’s knowledge-“ And into
my garden stole. When the night had veiled the pole”- and probably ate
this poisonous “apple”, the full power of this vicious, repressed anger
unleashed with the every bite, overwhelming the foe.

Sophia Chan said...

hi. im also doin a project on this poem and i hav 2 say why he wrote it. could anyone tell me why?

Sophia (Hotmail) said...

Hi. Im also doing a project on this poem. I have to say why he wrote it. Can anyone tell me why?

Tracey Hector said...

Hi I don't understand the metaphorical language used in the poem. Did his foe eat his anger, or the "apple"? Why would he want his anger?-Lauren

Trudi Moirson said...

Hi Lauren,
The apple used in this poem is a physical manifestation of the
narrator's anger and hate. It is a way for him to harm his foe or 'get
payback' without it being direct or obvious so that he can kill his foe
without any one knowing. Or at least lure his foe into his trap.
regards Milly.
oh, and to everyone else out there who keeps adding things on here that
are just plain nasty can you please stop. There is no point we are all
here for the poetry not to argue. And thanks to all those people who are
willing to help because its you who will help the rest of us pass. You
have to give a little to take a little.

Adams said...

Hi Trudi. After reading this poem, I must say that I disagree with your interperetation of this poem. The apple does not symbolize some sort of passive-agressive way to get back at the writer's enemy. Rather, it it an explosion of all the hate and anger built up inside him. It could not have been indirect, and it was certainly obvious, for the writer must have made direct contact with his enemy in order to kill him.

hazel&Bill said...

I have a site that may help people to understand this wonderful poem.It's a guide for teachers but may help students too...[broken link]
Good Luck..Hazel

Louise Birkemose said...

Well, let me see if I can interpret this poem. I am Danish, so bear with me
if my writing has flaws. Okay. First Stanzy obviously say that this guy is
angry with his friend. He talks with his friend about it and his wrath ends.
They talk about the problem. Woohoo, good for them! However, you can't
walkways have anice chat with your foe, and this is the same. He's probably
too proud to talk with his foe about it, and as such his wrath and hatred
grows in him.

2nd stanza: He says he watered it in fear and so on. This is most likely
mentally happening. Every time he thinks of this foe he feels sad, and then
angered. We can pretend his hatred is a seed. His tears are water and his
cold words and smile to his foe is the sun. That's how you grow a little
tree. Woohoo, good for him!

3rd Stanza: So now the little seed grows to a tree. He waters it and suns it
and it grows and grows. The apple represents, perhaps, the last action or
word ever made or uttered. The tree is in such case mental. In him. We can
also say that the tree exist, in the backyard or whatever, and our man
poison the first apple, knowing that his foe will do much to harm our little

4th stanza: And here we have our ending. The foe can be killed with an
action, or if it really was a tree in the garden he would've been killed by
the apple. It's all very methaphoric. The foe enters the garden when the sky
is dark, meaning it's night, and steals the apple. He eats it and next
morning our man finds him under the tree, outstretched.

You could also say that this apple that the foe steals is our man's
girlfriend. You can interpret this in so many ways. Now I'm off to interpret
other poems, because I don't have a life. Woohoo!

Aida said...

the apple in the poem is suppose to signify the fruit of his anger. What happens when you hold in anger too long? it grows..... so it signifys that his anger gave fruit and it was the apple

FirstDarkAvenger said...

The meaning to this poem? Not sure but I think its about not storing your
anger. Try resolving it with words not hate

anfoto98 said...

will someone please explain to me what exactly the poem means. i know what the first stanza is but i am kind of confused about the last 3.. someone please help!!

TOMIAN HAR said...

thank you all for these precios comments . they were so helpful for me . and i would like to add somethig about the "garden" : what is it ? is it the heart ? the feelings ?the whole negative emotions which gives the tree the power and the suitable environment to grow up and for the app;e to bear?

M Murphy said...

in answer to Dani's question - anfoto98@. there's no exact way of explaining EXACTLY what this poem is about as its all open to interpretation, if it helps here's my view of it!!

1st stanza: two different situations. first - what happens when anger is adressed, the problem is solved. second - what happens when anger is left to "grow", it gets BAD! in this case it manifests itself into the physical form of an apple (as trudi moirsen said)

2nd stanza: the watering, sunning etc appears to be the bitter emotion that builds up, in other words, the care and time one would put into growing a plant/tree.

3rd and 4th stanza: the "foe" steals the fruit, i feel this could be symbollic of the sin of jealousy maybe provocation. the "veiling" of the pole again implies sin or deceit. and the "outstretched foe" is the narrator's revenge, though death isnt actually mentioned, we are led to believe this is the case.

there are of course 100s of other deeper meaning, some delving a little too deep. hopefully thats helped you, ive only scratched the surface feel free to carry on...

tomian har - odaaa@
again more than one interpretation, liking yours. Could one draw parallels to the biblical story of the garden of eden? sorry if this has been mentioned already, have not read all comments
hope ive helped anyone

_Oritsegbemi_E._Jakpa_ said...

The Poison Tree, by William Blake, copied below is a clean example of how anger can develop, degeneratively, if unexpressed for too long, and leads to and end-product of extremes unreasonable outbust of feelings that almost always cuases a sad effect. But in this case the writer was glad – last but one line tells us this. We should not forget that the apple – means any one can eat it –, hence friends and foe are equally prone to either by direct or transferred wrath. I still believe anger of this nature can be creatively transferred to places like love, writing, … Obviously his foe my think what he did is harmless.

Jakpa, Oritsegbemi Emmanuel
133 King House
Du Cane Road

Debby said...

Hey.I kinda get all the things happening in the poem.but how does the
foe die.
cuz the tree is practically made by all his anger.and therefore so is
the apple.
so if the foe got it and ate did he die??...but the
poisonous venomous words?
..or wot? lol

Trimaran said...

Here's my literal translation of the poem. In case you need a transcription,
like I do!
Good luck!

Transcribed version

I was mad at my friend:
I told him my anger, I was no longer angry.
I was mad at my enemy,
I didn’t tell him, I got angrier.

And I gave it water, in fears,
All day long, with my tears,
And I gave it sun by smiling,
And with little tricky lies.

And it grew all day long,
Until it produced a shiny apple;
And my enemy saw it shine,
And he knew it was mine,

And he went into my garden,
When night had turned the sky black:
In the morning I was happy to see
My enemy laying underneath the tree

Greetings, Elise from Holland

Neil Fleischmann said...

I think the line about the pole being veiled is a poetic way of saying night when one pole of the earth is darkened.

Neil Fleischmann
EarthLink Revolves Around You.

Mic said...

Wow brilliant poem and i have a few indeas on the says to resolve your anger for anger in the human heart only grows with time and attention. As your anger towards someone gets worse he wants to spite you and you want to show to the world what you've got to make you better than your foe (in the poem it is simbolized by a shining apple). Your foe then breaks into your life (the garden) and tries to steal from you that one thing that you have that makes you better, but in the end he is only spiting himslef! Thus if you live in anger or try to spite someone it would end in tragedy!

TEO Karen said...

From: Celeste :-) ><

Wow... seems like there's a lot of meanings to this poem.

Anyway, this site has really been a great help to me.

I have a literature assignment on this poem too.

You guys are really good!

Helenmary Jarrott said...

The aspect of this poem that confuses me (and which hasn't been resolved by
any of the comments I've read) relates to the end of the poem. If (as so
many people seem to feel) the theme of the poem is that it's better to deal
with anger that to let it fester - why is the outcome of the supposedly
'negative' response (feeding and watering his anger and letting it fester)
presented as a postivie occurrence (In the morning glad I see My foe
stretch'd out beneath the tree)? If the moral of the story is: Don't let
anger grow - why isn't the poet the one who dies from the fruit of the
poison-tree he has nurtured within? To me, the moral outcome of the story
does not suggest that allowing the poison-tree to grow and bear fruit has
been a bad thing for the poet. It has enabled him to be revenged on his
enemy, albeit indirectly (because his enemy has stolen the fruit) rather
than directly by giving his enemy the fruit... Can someone enlighten me in
my confusion???

Joel McCoy said...

From: Dsyharrelson@

Can anyone tell me what is meant in the 4th stanza, "when the night had
veiled the pole;"
I am a bit lost on what he is referring to...any suggestions would be

The "pole" is referring to the tree that is hidden by the night so that
the thief could come and take his apple.

anthony coulthard said...

Hey Everybody, I'm pretty sure that the speaker's foe in this poem was actually himself, as he was unable to conquer his emotions, so he eventually committed suicide to terminate his suffering.

Shahin Islam said...

wow the more you think about this poem the harder it gets

jparmenter said...

Pole means polemics which is arguement or dispute

Helga said...

The first two sentences state a complete truth of how true friends behave.
If you are angry with a friend, because of the friendship you are sincere
and tell him your feelings, which they are well taken. Among friends is easy
to be frank and that is welcome so to continue the friendship. But if you
are angry with a person who is not your friend, you keep that anger to
yourself. It is natural that if not cleared the situation it shall grow and
grow without limits, because it is watered and nourished with other
unfriendly feelings even thou you have to hide them, maybe for social
reasons. The apple is just a symbol of a grown anger disguised by hypocrisy
that may lure and fool the enemy so he may be trusty. He is so fooled that
he tries to get closer and intimate, but oh, he finds his own death when he
gets that close. That is my interpretation. I studied this poem at College
in my younger years and it impressed me deeply. I have experienced the truth
of said poem.


Anonymous said...

why do you guys think the enemy comes into the garden

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Anonymous said...

It's only my opinion, but I hope this helps a little.
"In the Book of Proverbs, it is stated that the Lord specifically regards "six things the Lord hateth, and the seventh His soul detesteth." namely:[2]

A proud look
A lying tongue
Hands that shed innocent blood
A heart that devises wicked plots
Feet that are swift to run into mischief
A deceitful witness that uttereth lies
Him that soweth discord among brethren." source - Wikipedia

Anonymous said...

We were doing this in English class too. The thing about poetry is that there are so many ways to interpret what the poet is trying to say.

Personally I think that the friend and the foe are the same person. Here is my interpretation:

The poet was angry at his friend, and admitted it to himself. That friend became his foe, and the poet did not admit to himself this anger. The friend/foe does not know of this sudden change.

Instead, he lets his anger grow- through fear, sadness, joy and lies.

His anger grew, until it became a "tree" and bore an "apple". This apple could represent any number of things- a plot of revenge on the friend, or simply just another part of the rage the poet feels. Anyhow, the friend discovers the "apple", which is the poets wrath, and figures out who it belongs to.

Unable to bear the thought of his friend being so angry at him, sneaks into the garden and kills himself under the tree. Morning comes and the poet sees him there, without a trace of remorse.

I also liked the idea that the foe was himself, I'd never thought of it that way.

Anonymous said...

I'm having a little trouble with the figurative language. I need to find the figurative language for each line. Just a few lines to get me started would be all i need.

Anonymous said...

Would basically all the second stanza be metaphors?

Anonymous said...

wow its really amazing

Marc said...

For me, the tree is the anger itself, which though nurturing eventually spawns the fruit that corrupts his perception of the reality of who his foe truly is.
The foe stealing the fruit of his anger is the supplanting of the true person with the image of the foe created in the author's angry and vengeful mind. In that 'theft' the real person dies and all that is left is the darkness and shadow reality of the author's anger.

Anonymous said...

the man who is out for revenge is not trying to kill not just any person but a person thet he once considered to be his frend poem shows the evil that lies in every man's heart and what it takes to set this evil loose. the entire time the man is unhappy is when his foe is alive which allows for aplot for revenge to develop in his mind. As the man seethes in his revenge his tree of revengs also begins to take shpe.

Anonymous said...

The Apple was fore told not be eaten. Why the enemy would sneak to his garden to eat the apple.
Simple, the poet tell us that we try to pusnish enemies and we are happy when they suffer. Which is wrong.
In the end we are left with the tree which is going to bore more apples and kill more enemies. Not a good way to resolve conflicts.

Lady in red said...

This poem by William Blake is a very significant poem and we can relate to it as we all have problems in showcasing our true feelings especially in front of our enemies. This poem is very simple and dramatic.I hope that my explanation on this poem will help others.

Stanza1-The speaker says that he was once angry with his friend and hence he told his friend about the anger he felt for him so that both could resolve the issue amongst themselves which would surpress the anger from increasing any further.On another occasion the speaker is angry with his enemy but is too proud as well as scared to let him know of his strong feeling of anger.Hence the anger which the speaker held for his enemy does not end as it did with the former and the unrest between the two continues.

stanza2- With the passage of time the anger grows and which is also nurtured by the speaker. Here the wrath or anger is compared to a seed as both grow if given care. Just like a seed this anger is watered daily by the speaker's fears and tears.The anger is also given sunlight through the sarcastic smiles and the cunning tricks. Hence this "wrath" grew both from the speaker's inner as well as outer feelings. The speaker was scared to depict his anger to his enemy and hence hid it behind his false facial expressions such as his sarcastic smiles.

stranza3- Due to the nourishment given to the wrath it grew into a poisonous tree and one day bore a shiny red coloured apple. Although this apple was very attractive and looked tasty it was deadly poisonous as it was the manifestation of anger and hatred. Meanwhile previously the enemy had no idea about the hatred and anger which the speaker felt for him as it was not told to him. But when the "tree of poison" bore the apple which was visible to all,the enemy came to know about the speaker's strong feeling of anger towards him.

stranza4- One nigt when it was very dark that even the farthest star that is the pole star was veiled the enemy came into the the speaker's garden to steal the apple. Altough the foe knew that the apple was poisonous as it was the product of a strong feeling of anger,he could not help but eat the apple as the latter looked extremely attractive and mouth watering. It is also to be remembered that the enemy did not steal the apple only because it was attractive but also because he thought that by stealing this apple(which was the product of the speaker's wrath) he could finally end the speaker's anger.This shows that the enemy had no intention of having any kind of enemity between him and the speaker infact the foe wanted to be friendly with the speaker.Therefore this apple killed the enemy when he ate it.This incident is very similar to the incident of Adam and Eve in the Bible. The next morning the speaker was glad to see his enemy lying dead beneath the "tree of anger". This shows that the speaker was very cruel as the death of his enemy could also not make him feel sorry towards his foe. the poem hence ends with the message that one should not hide one's true feelings or be a hypocrite.

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Anonymous said...

I had to memorize this. it was fun and easy!

Anonymous said...

thank you so much guys.............coz of your help i'm able to complete my project. i'm grateful to u all

Anonymous said...

This site really helped me with my assignment! I was wondering though, if maybe the apple actually represents a duel? Like, the speaker couldn't contain his anger any more, and he and his foe face off in his garden? It was just an idea I had, and it would be great if someone could tell me what they thought. This site is great!

Anonymous said...

actually this site helps me more than my professor and books ,, really thank you guys god bless you all

Anonymous said...

Veiled the pole means cover the star, the pole being the North Star

TemPezT1 said...

William Blake (28 November 1757 – 12 August 1827) Blake was an English poet, painter, and printmaker. The poem a poison tree was written by Blake in 1794. This poem was chosen as it represents human nature and how we should control our emotions. The poem contains four stanzas each including metaphors, alliteration. He works with a simple rhyme scheme (A, A, B, B) that keeps the poem flowing. This poem deals with the concepts anger, hatred and revenge.

Each of the effects that Blake has used in his poem helps describe the poem better. It gives the reader a better understanding of the emotion and the event or situation the poet is trying to describe.

The poem includes a number of metaphors, alliteration and personification. The metaphors are located in the 3rd and 4th line in the first stanza.
When he says ‘I told my wrath, my wrath did end’. He said he was angry with his friend and able to get over being angry with his friend and forgot about it. Although, it is totally opposite when he says ’ I told it not, my wrath did grow’. Blake is saying that with his enemy, he allowed himself to get angry, and therefore, his wrath did grow.

‘Sunned it with smiles’ and ‘and with soft, deceitful wiles’. This is an example of alliteration because of the words sunned, smiles and soft all being with the same letter and having similar sounds. He has created an illusion with his enemy saying he is pretending to be friendly to his wrath so he can bring him closer.

Where the poet’s anger increases to the extent that the poisonous tree produces bright and shiny apples. This is similar to the story of The Garden of Eden. The fruit seemed tempting to eat at first; on the other hand, Adam and Eve got punished for eating the apple. Although, the speaker seems polite towards his enemy, when actually he has been hiding evil intentions all along. The author begins to speed up the climax when the foe Trespassed into the speaker’s garden, also seen as a trap, and was Tempted by the apples shiny appearance. When the poet says, ´My
Foe outstretched beneath the tree he means that his foe has consumed the poison apple and died.

In conclusion the overall effectiveness of the poets use of structure, sound and imagery is excellent because I think that the poem successfully achieves the poets purpose to demonstrate that you should always be honest and tell your feeling to the person that you have them for.

Anonymous said...

I have a literature question here:What are the two poetic terms used in this poem and give the evidences.

Anonymous said...

who is the intended audience for the A Poison Tree by William Blake, How do you know. Justify the answer with evidence from the poem.

I would say the audience is reader or the speaker himself. These are the only two people audiences that canbe justified from the poem. The non-person audience canbe the tree. he's talking to the tree about his plan to kill his foe.

Other than these answers, anyone can help with this question.

Anonymous said...

Is there any indication in the poem that the apple may have also been in foe?

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

What would be some symbols that is in this poem, like how a dove would represent peace?

Samantha Dyehouse said...

I agree that maybe his foe went into his garden because he was jealous and they knew they were foes and was playing another trick on him. This time, maybe, the tree represents either something he planted as a part of his plot, or perhaps everything that he is around is poisoned and when the for eats the apple he has literally felt the effects.

Samantha Dyehouse said...
This comment has been removed by the author.

Anonymous said...

Veiled the sky

Anonymous said...

the last few lines of this poem, the foes dead is symbolic or literal?
please and thank you

Anonymous said...

Tree= Feastering Anger

dpark said...

The Poison Tree
The Poison Tree is a poem written by William Blake in1794 and even though it was one of his lesser famous poems, it was considered one of his finest ones. It revolves around anger, revenge and death. The poem has four stanzas and each one has four lines indicating they are quatrains. The rhyming scheme is AABB so the first two lines of the quatrain rhyme followed by two more lines that rhyme together. And this type of simple rhyme scheme delivers a speech of when you’re reading it that makes the sentences flow easily. The narrator who is explaining the actions in this poem is an obscure narrator that William Blake gives no hints on who it is. All we know is that he is speaking in the first person view and we know this right away when at the start of the first line in the first stanza, it starts with “I”. Having no idea who it is though, the readers can better place themselves into the poem and dive into the poem more deeply relating greatly to the emotions the narrator feels during the poem. The emotions are emotions that almost everyone has experienced in their lifetime and can greatly understand the narrator and also fear what will happen if we are to nurture the poison tree like the narrator did. The first stanza opens up with the narrator showing two scenarios. In the first two lines, the narrator is angry at his friend but he explained his anger to the friend and his anger disappeared.

dpark said...

“I was angry with my friend/ I told my wrath, my wrath did end.” But then in the second half of the first stanza, the reader this time gets angry at his foe, but instead of telling his foe about it, he bottles it up and keeps it to himself. And it leads to “my wrath did grow”. So his anger just kept on mounting. In the second stanza he continues on the scenario of his anger for his foe growing. It’s this stanza that William Blake starts to use the extended metaphor that is in the title. He represents his anger as a tree and to help it grow he waters it with FEAR and night and morning with his TEARS. The words fear and tear seem to go hand in hand because the narrator is scared of his foe and due to his fears, he is crying, producing tears for the tree/anger. And then it says “And I sunned it with smiles”. It is hard to believe that the narrator has suddenly stopped crying and started smiling at his foe so when it says that, I don’t believe that it is at the foe that the narrator is smiling to. I am inclined to believe that the narrator now realizes his extreme anger towards the foe and realizes that the tree he seems to like is actually amusing or pleasant to him. He’s happy over the anger he has amounted so he starts smiling at the tree in hopes to make it grow more and become bigger. He has given up on trying to forgive the foe. And so it says “And I sunned it with smiles/ And with soft deceitful wiles.” He is now saying he likes it and in the second line, when he says wiles, wiles’ meaning devious or cunning stratagems to manipulate or persuade someone to do what one wants, William Blake is showing that the narrator is planning something cunning and he is also happy to see the results. The diction of soft gives it a sense of secrecy that no one hears or knows about other than the narrator, it’s HIS secret. The thing is though that throughout this whole stanza, William Blake is using figurative language because literally speaking, you could not water or grow a real live tree with smiles and tears but Blake is using these terms to represent the anger that the narrator is feeling and how he is (adding coal to the fire) Continuing on, in the third stanza, “And it grew both day and night” William Blake contrasts day and night to signify that the narrator grew the tree for many hours and days while day and night passed by. Then in the line after that, the result of growing the tree finally emerges when it reads “Till it bore an apple bright”. This line is very important due to the fact that not only is the product of all those days and night angry is produced, but William Blake also uses a classical allusion to give the readers an image of trickery and evil while the description itself seems fairly innocent. Blake is referring to the apple; the forbidden fruit of Eden, that Adam and Eve were manipulated into eating. We don’t know for certain William Blake was referring to the bible though. He could’ve also been using another classical allusion to signify the apple as the apple in Hesperidia’s garden that provided immortal life. And then the next line where it reads “ And my foe beheld it shine” is saying that the foe has realized the anger the narrator has and has realized that it was his when in the next line it says “And he knew it was mine”. Then in the last stanza first line, “And into my garden stole” is saying perhaps that the foe had seen the apple and was lure by its beauty even though he knows the apple isn’t his. He is tricked into getting it. “When the night had veiled the pole” is saying when it became dark, as in when one of the two poles became veiled indicating its night. Then in the last two lines “In the morning glad I see/ My foe outstretched beneath the tree” The narrator is saying in the morning, the foe was found dead underneath the tree of hatred that the narrator has been nurturing so carefully and he was happy that his wily trick worked. The foe’s reason to die was due to the fact of him consuming the apple from the tree that was only grown with hatred thoughts and tears making the apple poisonous.

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Anonymous said...

I don't believe that the narrator wanted to say that the tree grow by him (the narrator) actively. "sunned in smile" is used to make clear that the seeds of anger make the tree grow.

In the night (veiled the pole) the foe confronted (himself) with the deep down hatred of the narrator.

The narrator can't be helped anymore; he is driven by his fury. Thus it happened that the foe was killed and the narrator was 'glad' about it.

But do not forget the first two lines. I think they are most important. Blake shows a simple way to end wrath ("I told my wrath, my wrath did end").

The narrator could have been prevented from doing such a horrible thing (killing someone).

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what effect does A Poison Tree have on its audience


Patent Solicitor said...

This seems like a wonderful analogy for feeding negative thoughts, something we've all been known to do!

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