William Blake’s “Poison Tree” is a poem about anger that is nurtured and allowed to explode. This is one of my favourite poems because it has a lot to teach us about anger, and how we really should deal with growing anger. In the poem, the poet metaphorically represent anger as a “poison tree” that is willfully tended by the speaker of the poem. The poem also shows that it is easier to settle disagreements with a friend than a foe. As a result, this anger grows into revenge and, as in the case of the poem, murder.
The Dark and Ugly Side of a Poison Tree
This poem shows the dark and ugly side of anger. It also shows two ways the speaker handled anger. First, when the speaker talks to the friend, the problem is solved. Second, when the speaker refuses to talk, mainly because the person is a foe, the anger grew until it was uncontrollable.
The Poem: The Poison Tree
Here is the “Poison Tree” by William Blake. It is certainly food for thought:
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 my 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.
That’s it. I invite you to leave your comments about “Poison Tree” in the comment box below.
Articles in this series:
That disturbing emotion called Anger
Is there such a thing as healthy anger
Do I have anger issues
Simple anger test
Facial displays of anger
Linking diet and antisocial behaviour
Methods and techniques of Anger Management
What is anger management
Quenching anger before it becomes destructive
Coping with the roadblocks of life
What triggers your anger bug
Teaching children anger management skills
When others are mad at you
“Stop anger, be happy”
“A Poison Tree” by William Blake