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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.

William Blake

Aside of how fun this is on its own, Blake having written this makes me think about playfully poisoned cosmologies (I just finished reading one of Thomas Ligotti's short story collections, so that might explain it). Now, had Milton written it... I don't know. Maybe you could imagine a God angry with humankind because of the Crucifixion, planting an irresistible apple tree in the Garden poisoned with Knowledge and Death? (I know the timeline looks all impossible, but that's only because you're inside Time, or not Moffat).

Emily Dickinson: Nah. She wasn't *nice*, but she didn't have much time for hate, methinks (and she wrote). Although a mean Emily Dickinson would have been a sight to behold --- a poetically minded Jamie Moriarty, if you'll allow me a flight of fancy.

T. S. Elliot: Not his syntax, and too much agency. He'd write of a garden of poisoned trees, time fleeting between corpses, the dust of Babylon and the tears of Roman widows making the mud that feeds the apples, while the children run. Run. Can you hear their whispers? Have you forgotten the apple you took? The bite is in your future, already taken and yet to be tasted.

e. e. cummings: It'd be less a tale than an instruction set, but I can see him writing something along these lines, although perhaps a trifle more generic (all angers, not yours).

Whitman would have written twenty pages about all the apple trees he planted in electric anger, the armies of men killed by them, how they are all America and Walt Whitman as well (their ground - sing the ground where he spilled them and his seed).

And of course Shakespeare would have written a four-story revenge play, The Apple Garden of Milan. The Gardener would have to die at the end as well (conventions being what they are), but his beautiful chaste daughter would find solace as the new Duke's wife, and thus evil met with evil, betrayal with poison, and greed-coined gold with hatred-water'd wood, it would fall to the living to make sweeter fruit of such bitter dead roots.

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