William Blake

(28 November 1757 – 12 August 1827 / London)

A Poison Tree


I was angry with my friend:
I told my wrath, my wrath did end.
I was angry with my foe:
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Topic of this poem: tree

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# 22 poem on top 500 Poems


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  • Rookie - 6 Points Aditi Verma (5/1/2013 9:46:00 AM)

    The bitter fruit of vengeance. This is yet another satire on human 'emotions' and every other thing we personify- an issue that only William Blake could wrap up in words and present. (Report) Reply

  • Freshman - 1,636 Points Anthony Di''anno (4/25/2013 11:02:00 AM)

    I've read that he spent a lot of time using acid to etch his art into metal plates. He stuck to this method even though it was poisoning him and would ultimately lead to his death.

    He put a lot of effort and thought into his illustrations. It's not hard to imagine him breathing in fumes and shedding tears. Watering his work.

    The fruit of his labour shining brightly.

    His friend being his art. His foe being his doubt. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 7 Points Udiah Witness to YAH (4/24/2013 4:19:00 AM)

    William Blake in this poem conveys how when wronged by a friend, he confronted him and his friend apologized. But when wronged by an enemy, he realized that it had been done out of contempt. So Blake devised an ingenius plan, born both out of fear and revenge. The enemy had probably stolen an idea or worse, one of his literary works. So Blake created another so irresistable his enemy couldn't help but bite. But hidden within was a poisonous fruit, either something Blake knew his enemy was unable to comprehend or wouldn't take the time to research. Either way his trap worked. It led to his enemy's complete destruction. Brilliant! (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 369 Points Stephen W (1/31/2013 6:41:00 PM)

    I fail to see why people see forgiveness and forbearance in this poem.
    To me he is saying forgive a friend and destroy an enemy.
    Look at the last two lines. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Kevin Straw (10/14/2012 11:33:00 AM)

    The idea of the poem is not forget and forgive, it is the usual length for such a poem, and it certainly is not sweet.. The idea of the poem is that when you are angry with a foe talk to him about the problem, as you would to a friend. If you keep your anger, fear will make it grow, and, though you might be glad to see your foe dead, his death will deprive you of a possible friend. A summary might be jaw, jaw; not war, war (Churchill?) (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 43 Points Omar Jabak (9/13/2012 5:07:00 AM)

    This poem is short and sweet. I like it because of that. Regardless of any possible interpretations one might laboriusly dig to get, the idea is very simple; forget and forgive! (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Angie Scolari (6/3/2012 3:41:00 PM)

    i've done a lot of research, and i have discovered that William Blake hated Christianity. The original title of this poem was Christian Forbearance and it suggests that the narrator is god, the tree is his wrath, the apple religion, the foe Mankind (not just Adam and Eve and including Jesus because he is found outstretched- like the crucifix) . This poem is about how turning the other cheek is really just suppressing your anger and eventually it will just get worse. You need to outright tell people when you are angry with them and you need to legitimately forgive them whether or not they are your friend. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Besa Dede (4/24/2012 9:50:00 PM)

    Beautiful verses and great poem. Indeed, anger can makes one's soul unrest until all the wrath comes out. I quite enjoyed reading it.
    ~Besa (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 574 Points Shahzia Batool (4/24/2012 8:42:00 PM)

    The poem serves as a loud protest against hypocrisy, self-restraint, n suppression of feelings...with a message, ...Don't keep grudge; a timely catharsis gives relief , and while maintaining our mental equilibrium makes us able to lead a healthy life. Man is a social animal...the virtues of tolerance n forbearance are set against malignant n hypocritical attitude...
    the tree is not poisonous but a poison tree...n the apple, like that fatal apple of the garden of Eden is a great metaphor; it's a fruit of double-dealing.the poem is a social verse composed by the hands of a visionary poet...my favorite poem, , , for many reasons... (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Ralph Mason (3/9/2012 12:40:00 PM)

    I suspect Blake wrote this poem to have meanings at several levels. To me the poem is about the internal conflicts inside man and the ultimate death of truth/love. The friend is lies/deceit, the foe is truth/love, the wrath/tree is ego and the apple is self image. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Ray Remalig (2/11/2012 9:40:00 PM)

    It's hard to keep grudges in our hearts. When they grow, they will choke us. They will turn their heads upon us to bite us. (Report) Reply

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