Friday, January 30, 2009
A Poison Tree
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.
-- William Blake
In the last Lit for Life session, we were each asked to bring a poem that meant something to us. Cathy, the youngest in the class, brought William Blake’s A Poison Tree and read it out poignantly. Unlike the rest of us who had either taken a printout or a photocopy of the poem from a book, Cathy had written down the poem and made copies for all of us. I am so used to seeing the printed word constantly, even in letters written to me; I must admit that it was pleasant to see someone’s handwriting for a change.
If this poem A Poison Tree, is analysed, it falls apart completely. It does not withstand the questions it raises. I think the poem should be read and taken for just what it is – Blake being human like the rest of us, rejoices at the elimination of a foe.