(444) Best of 5 years ago this month Oct., 2009 (30)

01 Oct

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Expositions of Chosen Poems – 1 (A Poison Tree)

– Valibhai Musa


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One response to “(444) Best of 5 years ago this month Oct., 2009 (30)

  1. pragnaju

    October 1, 2014 at 2:20 am

    This masterpiece of deceit and threat reads aloud superbly. It is a menacing poem which acts as a useful introduction to the world of monologue:
    Having explained the meaning of ‘wrath’, I ask what the difference is between the first two lines and the second two. We end up talking about the word ‘grow’: how can your anger grow inside you?
    I ask them what the word ‘it’ refers to in line 4. Also, I suggest that ‘night and morning’ may be the times when the speaker is on his own, crying tears of vexation to himself. This contrasts with the time when he is in society when he smiles and is deceitfully friendly (‘wiles’). If this word is too old-fashioned for some pupils then you might remind them of the cartoon, Roadrunner, with its tricksy and menacing ‘Wily Coyote’! I also point out to them that if you water a plant and give it sunshine then it is going to grow.
    In this third stanza, we talk about the apple tree and I mention the two familiar worlds of apples/deception: the Garden of Eden and Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. The brightness of the apple is linked to its dangerous quality of poison. I also point out that this stanza doesn’t have an end-stop but instead flows over into the last four lines.
    Very few pupils have come across the Pole star and so I tend to give them the information and suggest that this means therefore that the enemy only steals into the speaker’s garden when it is completely dark. We talk about the speaker’s feelings of being ‘glad’ at the very end when he sees his dead enemy.



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