Metaphor in A Poison Tree

Metaphor Examples in A Poison Tree:

A Poison Tree 2

"In the morning, glad, I see My foe outstretched beneath the tree...."   (A Poison Tree)

The change from past to present tense in the final couplet signifies an inevitability to the foe’s death. It is as if the speaker is an impartial witness, viewing the scene in the morning “light” of pure reason. In the final stanza, Blake uses night and day as representative of the contrasting states of the foe and the speaker, respectively. Again, a mention of Blake’s Urizen, the god of reason, is apt here. Though Urizen baits the foe with his own feelings of contempt, the god ultimately holds the human accountable.

"When the night had veiled the pole;..."   (A Poison Tree)

The “pole” could refer to the Northern pole or the Northern star, also known as the “pole star.” This line draws on the classic metaphorical duality of light as reason and darkness as lack of reason. The concealment of a “true North” by which to navigate signals the foe’s lack of clarity and reason in deciding to eat the apple.