In this installment, Cleopatra Mathis reads “A Poison Tree” by William Blake. Mathis‘s sixth book of poems, White Sea, will be published in 2005 by Sarabande Books. She is the recipient of many grants and awards, including two National Endowment for the Arts grants, a fellowship from the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, The Robert Frost Award, and The Peter Lavin Award for Younger Poets from the Academy of American Poets. She has taught English and Creative Writing at Dartmouth College since 1982.
William Blake, “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 water’d it in fears,
Night & 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 veil’d the pole:
In the morning glad I see
My foe out stretch’d beneath the tree.