Poetic Spotlight: A Poison Tree


The artist and poet William Blake, who lived i...

Portrait of William Blake. Public domain, image care of Wikimedia Commons.

Well, if you missed it at Pretzels and Bullfights Monday, today we’re nestling ourselves rather nicely under the literary boughs of the great William Blake.

Blake was an English poet, painter and playwright of one of the most recognized and explored poetic periods today: the Romantic Age. An engaging and expressive man by all accounts, since his death he has become recognized as one of England‘s most skilled poets.

Blake’s works are often notable for their thoughtful, if tricky, use of symbolism and allegory in addressing their respective themes and issues. The man himself is also notable in that, while like many of the day, he held a great reverence for the Bible and for his faith (it factored into many of his writings), Blake also held a certain vehemence toward the concept of the organized religion. In his day it was at best considered a shocking view. In addition, his paintings often dabbled in biblical and mythical themes, to unique and beautiful ends…

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 waterd it in fears,
Night & 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 outstretchd beneath the tree.

~William Blake

Blake's The Great Red Dragon and the Woman Clo...

"The Great Red Dragon and the Woman Clothed with Sun," one of Blake's artistic beauties. Public domain, image care of wikimedia commons.