What is the figurative meaning in the poem "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.
Here, Blake speaks of how we deal with our anger. We don't want to remain angry with friends and are more willing to talk to them, so we stop our anger there instead of leaving it to fester, or "grow" as he says, a word used ambiguously here, referring to how our anger intensifies; this word allows Blake to turn "wrath" into a tree, though, as it is "growing."
And I waterd it in fears,Night & morning with my tears:And I sunned it with smiles,And with soft deceitful wiles.
In the image of the Tree of Wrath (as opposed to the Tree of Life or the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil), Blake shows how we make our anger worse, turning it to hatred. We add our fears to it and we add deceit (since we aren't willing to admit we're angry). Here, we have the Tree of Wrath being nourished with negative behaviors.
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.
As we add other emotions to our anger, it only grows. In this case, the tree eventually produces a shiny bauble (an apple, reminiscent of Eve's temptation in the Garden of Eden) which entices his enemy, who does not know that the day he eats of it, he shall surely die.
And into my garden stole,When the night had veil'd the pole;In the morning glad I see;My foe outstretched beneath the tree.
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