Tag Archives: wrath

Friday Poem – A Poison Tree

poison treeThis is quite a poignant poem by the English poet William Blake (1757-1827), and to me seems to reflect the world we live in today.

The poem is like football, a poem of two halves – albeit the first half is only the first 2 lines.

In the first half the writer says that when he is angry with his friend he tells him and the anger is forgotten –  oh, how the power of communication works so well!!!

The rest of the poem deals with what happens when we are angry with someone we actually don’t like so well. We don’t say anything, we suppress the feeling and what happens? The feeling doesn’t go away, instead it grows and grows inside of us, fed by all that negative energy and hatred until it explodes as a mighty and destructive force.

I think the underlying theme behind the poem is that communication is always a good thing. Always keep the lines open!

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 watered it in fears,
Night and 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 outstretched beneath the tree.

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Wrath

Wrath in its purest form (according to Wikipedia) “presents with self-destructiveness, violence and hate that may provoke feuds that can go on for centuries. Wrath may exist long after the person who did another a grievous wrong is dead.”

Reading that description from Wikipedia made me think of two things in particular.

One “Romeo and Juliet”. We know that the Montagues and Capulets were sworn enemies, but we don’t know (unless my memory is playing tricks, it’s a fair few years since I read Romeo & Juliet) how long they were enemies. So it could have been a family feud that had been going on for centuries – what we do know however, that the outcome of this feuding was the deaths of 2 young people, who did nothing more than fall in love.

The second was the world. Just the three feelings – self-destructiveness, violence and hate. To me the world we are living in right now is angry.

Man is self-destructing.

And how?

We are destroying the very planet we live on by ravaging it – you only have to look at the destruction oil-drilling in the Arctic region has done. Tearing down trees and ripping up countryside to build tower blocks. Pouring waste into the oceans. I could go on.

It’s not global warming that will kill the planet but man’s greed.

Nowhere is safe anymore. Violence seems to be a by-word for life these days. Not a day goes by when there is some horror story emerging about the violence done to one human being by another. What is everyone so angry about? Why can’t we live peacefully and not be afraid that if we go out we might be subjected to a violent assault on our person which would lead to injury and/or death. This is not the way to treat each other.

Violence doesn’t solve anything. It escalates out of control. For example, you hit me, I hit you, you retaliate and hit me with a stick, I find a bigger stick, you get something worse, I get something worse, etc, etc, etc, until someone gets killed!

Violence breeds hate. Or is it hate breeds violence?

What do we hate?

Do we hate each other? Why? Why hate someone you don’t know? How do we learn to hate? Why can’t we learn to love and get along rather than hate? Surely that would make the world a nicer place to live in.

You can’t hate someone just because they have a better job than you, or they support a different football team, or they pray to a different God, or even because they are a different colour. That is wrong in so many ways I can’t begin to express it.

If someone has a better job than you, don’t hate them, aim to get a better job yourself!

If someone supports a different football team, don’t hate them, feel sorry for them by all means, but seriously everyone’s entitled to their own opinions!

If they pray to a different God, don’t hate them, after all, all religion is about love and understanding and above all peace on earth.

At the end of the day though, can we save the world from ourselves and our wrath?

I believe we can, if we take it one step at a time.

If we can maybe, just maybe we can make the world a better place for our children and our children’s children!

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