Poison Tree

Album: Sugaring Season (2012)


  • The song is a setting of William Blake's 1794 poem, The Poison Tree. The work was part of Blake's collection, Songs of Experience, in which he considered the nature of evil. The non-conformist mystic was protesting against what he considered to be the puritanical Christianity of his day, which he felt repressed "sinful" emotions in people. Blake's poison tree was a metaphor for his anger, which he'd allowed to be stifled rather than expressed. As a result, his wrath grew until it "bore an apple bright." The poem concludes with the line, "my foe outstretched beneath the tree."
  • Beth Orton suffers from Crohn's disease, an inflammatory bowel condition that can cause chronic pain. For many years she tried to ignore the disease, but when she gave birth to her daughter in December 2006, Orton needed to express her discomfort. She told The Independent: "I was in incredible pain for all of my twenties, and some of my thirties. I was in pain every single day. Do you know when I realised? When I had Nancy, I had an emergency Caesarian and somebody came to visit me, and I didn't know how to say I'm in pain. And that is what 'Poison Tree' is all about."


Be the first to comment...

Editor's Picks

Who Wrote That Song?

Who Wrote That Song?Music Quiz

Do you know who wrote Patti Smith's biggest hit? How about the Grease theme song? See if you can match the song to the writer.

How The Beatles Crafted Killer Choruses

How The Beatles Crafted Killer ChorusesSong Writing

The author of Help! 100 Songwriting, Recording And Career Tips Used By The Beatles, explains how the group crafted their choruses so effectively.

Butch Vig

Butch VigSongwriter Interviews

The Garbage drummer/songwriter produced the Nirvana album Nevermind, and Smashing Pumpkins' Gish and Siamese Dream.

Macabre Mother Goose: The Dark Side of Children's Songs

Macabre Mother Goose: The Dark Side of Children's SongsSong Writing

"London Bridge," "Ring Around the Rosie" and "It's Raining, It's Pouring" are just a few examples of shockingly morbid children's songs.

Meshell Ndegeocello

Meshell NdegeocelloSongwriter Interviews

Meshell Ndegeocello talks about recording "Wild Night" with John Mellencamp, and explains why she shied away from the spotlight.


AC/DCFact or Fiction

Does Angus really drink himself silly? Did their name come from a sewing machine? See if you can spot the real stories about AC/DC.