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By William Blake

A Poison Tree

This interactive exploration with music brought to you by Poetry Rocks Schools
Explore the poem A Poison Tree by Willaim Blake

lesson index


Discussion prompts

About Blake

Writing prompt 2

Writing prompt 1

Music video


Romantic Age


I can analyze how Blake’s choice of words shapes the mood of “A Poison Tree.”

I can cite textual evidence from a non-fiction source in order to describe the poet William Blake.

I can speak clearly about my emotions and experiences during a class discussion.

I can define and recognize literary devices, such as the metaphor in the title of “A Poison Tree.”

I am able to interpret the central theme of “A Poison Tree.” I can cite verses in the poem and explain how they relate to the central theme.

lesson Objectives


A Poison Tree

• 18th-century British engraver, artist, poet, and visionary • Educated at the Royal Academy of the Arts • Best recognized as the earliest and most original poet of the Romantic Age • Known for lyrical poems from Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience • Saw visions, which caused some individuals to consider him “mad” • Married to Catherine Boucher, whom aided him with his work despite her illiteracy • Charged with sedition • Influenced by French Revolution and Thomas Paine • Spiritual, but uncommitted to organized religion • Recognized as a non-conformist
(November 28, 1757 - August 12, 1827)

William Blake

• Artistic, literary, and intellectual movement that originated in Europe toward the end of the 18th century (1800-1850) • Favored individualism, reverence for the natural world, idealism, physical and emotional passion, and interest in the mystic and supernatural. • Poets and artists set themselves in opposition to the orderly philosophies of classical and neo-classical artists • Centered primarily on poetry • Emergence of the professional literary critic

The Romantic Age

Who was Blake? Describe him in a paragraph of about 75 words.

In the past 5 years, what event or individual has concerned or influenced you? Did the individual or event change your attitude toward life?What makes you angry? What measures do you take to deal with this anger? Are you always able to resolve your anger?

Classroom Discussion


A Poison Tree

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 outstretched beneath the 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 watered it in fears, Night and morning with my tears; And I sunned it with smiles, And with soft deceitful wiles.

A Poison Tree

structure & style terminology

Literary devices terminology


Devices 1

Devices 2

Meter (rhythm)


Rhyme Scheme

Poem's terms & phrases

Cite textual evidence which supports the main theme of the story. Use specific verses and explain how the verses relate to the suppression of anger.


A Poison Tree

How is the experience of reading the poem or reading the lyrics different from the experience of listening to the music? How are the experiences similar? Which experience is “best”?How do the lyrics, theme, mood, and structure of the song compare to the original poem?

Classroom Discussion