William Blake

(28 November 1757 – 12 August 1827 / London)

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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 watered it in fears,
Night and 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 veiled the pole;
In the morning glad I see
My foe outstretched beneath the tree.

Submitted: Wednesday, May 09, 2001

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  • Rookie - 0 Points Raphael Reichert (11/16/2014 10:42:00 PM)

    Great poem, but the recorded reading put the M's in monotonous and monochromatic. Kindly have a poet or actor do such recordings, i.e., inject some soul. (Report) Reply

  • Freshman - 1,263 Points Elizabeth Padillo Olesen (11/10/2014 6:12:00 AM)

    Very simple poem bearing universal truth, how human anger and hate can be nurtured day and night and how it grows to be a poisoned tree. (Report) Reply

  • Veteran Poet - 2,827 Points Savita Tyagi (10/14/2014 8:04:00 PM)

    The poet is lucky that his wreath didn't destroy him, instead killed only his foe! Enjoyed the poem. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 158 Points Kevin Nash (10/14/2014 11:56:00 AM)

    lovely work man, inspiring poetic minds... So much could be learnd with this kind of writing! (Report) Reply

  • Freshman - 1,943 Points Patricia Grantham (10/14/2014 6:50:00 AM)

    A great metaphor in the friend that he thought
    he had. In the end his wishes came true was
    the friend he once knew. Compelling. (Report) Reply

  • Gold Star - 10,425 Points Valsa George (10/14/2014 6:42:00 AM)

    This is one of the most beautiful and meaningful poems, I have read! Simple in form, but so profound in content! If anger is watered and nurtured, it will shoot into a poison tree bearing lethal fruits! Who all eat them meet with their doom! Anger destroys both the owner and the reciever! (Report) Reply

  • Gold Star - 10,878 Points Gangadharan Nair Pulingat (10/14/2014 4:24:00 AM)

    A great poem from the great poetic mind. The first para tells us the fact while he was wrath with the friend and when it is discussed it ended there. when such a wrath to the foe not ended and until his friend's death. A great image about the wrath and vengeance here poet describes and in fact the world is seeing those things and we experiences in real life. (Report) Reply

  • Gold Star - 30,989 Points Aftab Alam Khursheed (10/14/2014 3:44:00 AM)

    Communication with smile fill the gap..if silently bears the things...it is wastage...decay of energy..washing with tears the holiness within nice (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 322 Points Chris Howie (10/14/2014 2:53:00 AM)

    This is a fantastic poem! While it has a rather simple rhyme scheme, it is effective in delivering its message. It's short but sweet, let's say. And it is worthy of multiple interpretations. While I'm inclined to think it's a symbolic apple, and perhaps even a symbolic tree, it's certainly fair to think it's all literal. Really, it is just an impressive poem on that nature of anger and holding a grudge, and it is personified beautifully in this poem. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 823 Points Sagnik Chakraborty (10/7/2014 5:56:00 AM)

    Like most of Blake's works, this short poem is multi-layered and is open to several interpretations. With a friend you can speak out your anger and sort out the issue. With someone you don't like, it isn't that easy. You might well nurture the feeling of vengeance in your heart, of which the 'poison tree' is a metaphor out here. The enemy would be deceived by your 'smiles' and 'deceitful wiles', believing you to still to be innocuous and gullible. Therefore, if and when he tries to take advantage of you once again, he would find that your long-held grudge has kept you prepared and he would be defeated at his own game this time.

    This defeat of your enemy is symbolized through his 'death', and it is caused by your long-held grudge, i.e. the 'poison tree' that kept you wary of him. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 0 Points Sara Khan (9/3/2014 5:24:00 AM)

    amazing poem! ! great description and sense of imagery, it's also a very true poem wow didn't realize how much i liked this poem. Blakes definitely on my fav poet list! ! ! (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 0 Points Sara Khan (9/3/2014 5:21:00 AM)

    Awesome poem! ! one of my favorites, got great description and wonderful rhymehe's definatly on one of my fa poet list actually my first (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 43 Points Jacob Muthoka (8/29/2014 4:50:00 AM)

    I thought I understood this poem at first, but it reads multi-barreled. That he was angry with a friend made it easy to control and instruct his wrath. When a foe did the same, he held on to his wrath; morning after morning waiting for a day to revenge. He watered the asking for revenge over time until at last he was willing to see his foe die. The foe kept on their living. When Blake woke up to learn of the death of a foe, he must have been a happy man. Imagine, the only one smiling in the funeral. It's metaphoric as someone said. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 43 Points Jacob Muthoka (8/29/2014 4:50:00 AM)

    I thought I understood this poem at first, but it reads multi-barreled. That he was angry with a friend made it easy to control and instruct his wrath. When a foe did the same, he held on to his wrath; morning after morning waiting for a day to revenge. He watered the asking for revenge over time until at last he was willing to see his foe die. The foe kept on their living. When Blake woke up to learn of the death of a foe, he must have been a happy man. Imagine, the only one smiling in the funeral. It's metaphoric as someone said. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 367 Points Deniz Atay (8/21/2014 4:40:00 PM)

    a great, poetic example of how anger and hate kill both the receiver and the owner.. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 4 Points Paul Warner (8/4/2014 8:43:00 AM)

    To have a foe means he needs revenge and the revenge grew in his head but he never took revenge justed waited until fis enemy was defeated by his own bad Khamma (Report) Reply

  • Gold Star - 10,878 Points Gangadharan Nair Pulingat (6/17/2014 8:27:00 AM)

    I read this poem in this 2nd time and understands that anger always makes so much trouble to the mind and it grows and grows until something different happens and here the poet describes beautifully the plight of his foe and the poison tree becomes fatal to him. A beautiful poem from the great poet. (Report) Reply

Read all 96 comments »

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