Written by: Shreya Venkatachalam 14
In 1794, poet William Blake put pen to parchment and poured out a lifelong issue of humans, with sweeping letters and an extended metaphor. I came across this poem a couple of days ago and the message of it hit hard, so I decided to write an analysis of it, making it easier for others to also cherish this poem. In the poem A Poison Tree, Blake gives anger a physical form- a tree... a poisonous tree. As gets irritated towards a friend, the poet voices out his true feelings. His friend, being someone who cared about the poet, was able to talk their disagreement through; thus ending the seed of wrath that sprouted within him. However, when the same anger directed itself toward an “enemy,” the anger was neither suppressed nor talked about. Instead, it drew forward from the depths of darkness and began to grow. The poet, still having not opened up about these feelings, cultivates the growth of the anger unknowingly. The tears he weeps in secret from stabbing words aimed at him and the forced smiles he is forced to keep up, nurture the dark tree, and give way for the toxic apples of anger to sprout. In the poem, Blake refers to this apple as “bright” and shiny, appealing to those around him. He did such a commendable job of putting up a deceitful front, that even the foe he scorns is drawn to him, ignorant to the true nature of the apple. In the end, the poison in the apple takes control, the anger takes the reins, and in the end, traps the enemy in its painful embrace.
The poem represents the side effects of bottling up one’s emotions and keeping them hidden. This action is very dangerous because, at one point, that tree of hurt with fruits of anger will hurt not only foes and enemies but will also cause emptiness to take hold of a person. Once one tree grows successfully, soon an orchard of these trees will grow monstrously within the person. Ultimately, Blake urges his readers to speak out and open up. This can be related to even reality. Confide in friends and family and talk to enemies to clear the argumentative haze. Don’t let the vexation grow and grow until it takes a life of its own. There are enough problems in the world. It could use one less.