A Poison Tree by William Blake

By Mallory Justis


The theme of the poem is that communication can help you to get your anger out. The author develops the theme by showing two different scenarios, one where he is angry with his friend, and talks to him about it. His anger goes away. In the second scenario, the speaker is very angry with an enemy, and keeps his anger in. We see the anger grow. The author also develops the theme by using figurative language and an extended metaphor. Sound devices also emphasize important parts of the poem that contribute to the theme.

Poetic Devices

There are a lot of sound devices in this poem. First there is a rhyme scheme, which is AABB. The effect of this rhyme scheme is that it connects ideas, and emphasizes the lines it rhymes into one whole. The rhyming helps show the events that happen in the poem, and organize the ideas. There is also repetition, of phrases such as, "I was angry with..." and "I told..." These phrases are repeated because they are major contributors to the theme. The word "And" at the beginning of many lines helps to put the poem in chronological order. Rhythm is also found in the poem, and is enhanced by both the repetition and the rhyme. The rhythm helps the poem to flow better, creating an easy way for all of the ideas to be expressed. The figurative language in this poem was hard to figure out because it isn't just there for you to read, but you have to understand the meaning of the poem, and read carefully to find the figurative language. The most obvious piece of figurative language in this poem is an extended metaphor. The extended metaphor is the speaker using a tree to represent his anger. As his anger grows, the tree grows. There is also personification, which is developed by the metaphor. The speaker personifies his anger into a living thing. This is an example of where the figurative language was hidden within the metaphor. There is also imagery in this poem, which helps the reader to better visualize the poem.


The speaker is a person who we can see as very stubborn, and a bit creepy. He holds a grudge against his enemy, and keeps making it grow. He won't let the grudge go. He is satisfied when his enemy dies, so that creeped me out a little bit. If he is satisfied with someone dying, then he must be a little bit creepy. The speaker's tone in this poem is aggressive and negative. He feels a lot of hatred towards his enemy, and is talking about how holding a grudge can hurt you. So when he talks about grudges, his tone is very aggressive. The speaker's attitude creates a dark mood, when the reader sees that the speaker's anger has killed his enemy.

How does this reflect the mood?

The mood of the poem is very dark and sinister. The poem has death and hate pulled into a metaphor. My poster represents the mood because the background leaves look very thin, and odd, almost like leaves of a poisonous plant. The title is surrounded by brown, which adds to the darkness of the poem, and the images on my poster show anger, and are very dark. When looking at the images, you will get a creepy, sinister feeling, which helps to reflect the mood of my poster.