The Garden of Love and A Poison Tree by William Blake
William Blake’s poems “The Garden of Love” and “A Poison Tree”, bothof them belonging to the collection “Songs of Experience”, shareresembling style and structure. Even though their plots might appeardifferent, they both have religious background and deal with natureand carry a message of similar tenor, criticism of repression of humanemotions.
One of Blake’s characteristics is the use of simple wording anduncomplicated language that can be explained on different levels. Bothof these poems are narrated in first person, like stories aboutexperiences, creating an impression of personal connection. By usingvarious images Blake illustrates abstract concepts in physical meansand with help of hidden clues he effectively expresses his criticism.In the poem “The Garden of Love” the “Chapel” with “shut…gates”,“priests in black gowns” and “briars” represent the church, while inthe poem “A Poison Tree” it’s the “apple” and the “poison tree”,apparently standing for the Tree of Knowledge in the Garden of Eden,that gives the reader an indication of Christian religion.
While both poems express criticism of suppression, each of themdiscusses a different area. The poem “The Garden of Love” deals mainlywith repression of “joys and desires” by the church. The speaker inthis poem returns to the Garden of Love and instead of freedom andnatural view of love he finds “a chapel …built in the midst” and“priests in black gowns” who bound his “ joys and desires…with briars”(The Garden of Love). It is worth noting that the lettering “ThouShalt not” written “over the door” of the new built “Chapel” (TheGarden of Love) might refer to the 95 theses nailed to the door ofWittenberg church by the German religious reformer Martin Luther.
Both poems deal with the topic about nature. In the “Garden of Love”the “sweet flowers”, representing all the pleasant joys of love, werereplaced by cold and lifeless “graves” and “tombstones” whereas in thepoem “A Poison Tree” a hateful “apple” was born to poison the “foe” of