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A POISON TREE by William Blake

Stanza Meaning
I was angry with my friend: The persona is angry with his/her friend but after
I told my wrath, my wrath did end. discussing about it, the anger disappears. Then
I was angry with my foe: the persona is angry with his/her enemy but
I told it not, my wrath did grow. does not discuss about it, the anger grows
without control.

And I watered it in fears, The persona then feeds the emotion with fears
Night and morning with my tears; and sadness, showering it with fake smiles and
And I sunned it with smiles, deceitful action, making the anger grow.
And with soft deceitful wiles.

And it grew both day and night, The anger grows into a ‘poison’ tree and bears
Till it bore an apple bright. the ‘fruit’ of bad intentions and revenge. The
And my foe beheld it shine. enemy sees the shining ‘fruit’ and knows that it
And he knew that it was mine, is the personas.

And into my garden stole The enemy goes into the persona’s garden
When the night had veiled the pole; during the dark of night to steal the shining ‘fruit’.
In the morning glad I see In the morning, the persona is satisfied to see
My foe outstretched beneath the tree. the enemy, lying on the ground under the tree.

THEMES:
 Anger
 Hatred
 Deceit
 Friend versus Foe
 The power of communication
 Good versus Evil

MORAL LESSONS:
 We must be cautious of the motives of other people
 Do not manipulate others, especially innocent people
 Have open communication in life
 Do not nurture hatred because it is destructive
 Anger management is important in life
 We should make friends with anybody and everybody
 Make peace, not war

HOTS Questions

1. In stanza one, what may have caused the persona to be angry with his friend?
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2. In stanza one, why do you think the persona did not want to tell his enemy that he was
angry?
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3. Why did the persona do all the things described in stanza 2?


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4. Based on Stanza 2, in your opinion, did the persona’s enemy realise his deception?
Why?
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5. Based on stanza 3, why do you think the persona let his “tree of anger” grow so well?
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