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A Poison Tree

A Poison Tree


by William Blake

Stanza 2 Summary

Get out the microscope, because we’re going through this poem line-by-line.

Lines 5-8

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

  • The speaker talks more about how his anger grows. Using figurative language, he treats this anger very much like a plant. A plant needs water and sun in order to grow, and so apparently does his anger.
  • He watered it with his "fears" and his "tears" and made sure it got plenty of sunshine.
  • Now, we know that the speaker didn't give his anger-plant real sunshine. Instead, he gave it "smiles" and "deceitful wiles." These are more like "fake" sunshine.
  • They help the plant to grow—like real sunshine would for a real plant..
  • A wile is a "crafty, cunning, or deceitful trick." "Deceitful wiles," then, are super-deceitful tricks (or really, really cunning traps). The speaker suggests that he is a very deceptive person and that he is planning something very sinister and mischievous. Whatever it is, though, his anger seems to dig it, since those deceitful schemes are like sunshine to it. 
  • A growing plant is usually a good, positive thing, a symbol of life. It seems ironic that a growing plant is being compared to a growing anger. Is anger a good thing in the world of this poem?

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