[Skip Navigation]

Plagiarist Poetry Sites: Plagiarist.com | Poetry X | Poetry Discussion Forums | Open Poetry Project | Joycean.org
Enter our Poetry Contest
Win Cash and Publication!

Visitors' Comments about:

The Sick Rose

William Blake

Add a new comment.

Added by: Jineline
My first interpretation upon reading this was that the worm was sort of a wayward soul, battered by the storm, having never known love or beauty. He encounters someone so beautiful, so innocent and so loving that he is immediately attracted to her.
However, because he has never been loved, he doesn't know how to love her back, and he just takes, takes, takes, feeding himself and taking advantage of her while she is drained away. I enjoyed the irony of that situation, love=death.
Five minutes later, my English teacher wrote 'phallus' and 'yonus' on the board, I had completely missed any sexual interpretation-but I still like my initial reaction to the poem, and find it much deeper than simply "virgin is seduced/gets raped"
'The Blossom'
Added by: Daniel
Amazingly, I have seen no sign of a reference to this poem's companion poem - 'The Blossom' in the collection 'Songs of Innocence'. If you read that and consider them both, you will understand them much better.

'The Blossom' is about sexual awakening - the robin is a young woman who has had intercourse with the sparrow's arrow (a phallus). Here, Blake celebrates sexuality and writes almost as though he is seeking to comfort young women who are confused by such an experience.

In contrast to this, Blake in 'The Sick Rose' of 'Songs of Experience' presents sexual development or loss of virginity as a destructive force, which inevitably leads to a loss of innocence.

These are two opposing theories represent contrary states - the whole idea of Blake's poetry. Which one did he subscribe to? Did he lie somewhere in the middle? I don't know. There's loads of different interpretations other than this, which is why Blake's poetry is so good, but so frustrating. I could be wrong about the whole thing, though, and I'm sure someone will say that I am.
Added by: Kate
This poem is full of ambiguity, and I agree that there is no straightforward answer, as to what the meaning behind the poem is. I have read through all the comments, and none of them can be said to be wrong. I think I may have come across a theme which has no yet been put forward (unless I have missed it).

Has no one considered that the ‘Rose’ could be a reference to a child not a woman? One of Blake’s must scrutinised themes is childhood. This poem naturally coincides with this theme. It demonstrates a loss of youth, purity and innocence. This is a negative poem on childhood. The ‘dark secret love’ suggests that it could be her father sexually abusing her.
Added by: Talie and Miya
My friend and I here were reading these comments for help on an english assignment. never have we read so much idiotic nonsense. Literature as one person stated can not be looked at in one way. We have different minds that think differently. Only the original poet can tell us the meaning( though he is dead, he must be rolling in his grave laughing at us idiots) that comment about titanic was, in an understatement, the most moronic thing we have ever heard! Its sad to say what a twisted world we live in when our minds revolve around sexual content. not to say this isn't about rape but these comments went on and on, tearing the poem apart, chewing it in our twisted imagination. 82 comments and most of them are pure studpidity!!!!!! some comments were exceptionally good and thought through. they were actually very helpful like one from Makayla. These comments are my joke of the day, so thank you for all of your NONSENSE!!! Good day now!!
Added by: ashraf ali
this poem is such going about
little age love in which many problems create like when a girl
relate with a man he must do the sex and after it many diseases create so this poem give us knowledge that dont apply these things these are harmfull for us or our creature
another point of view...
Added by: Alyson
this will seem weird... prepare yourselves!

I'm thinking the worm found the bed of crimson joy, right? so it was already there to start with. so perhaps we should make a link crimson joy and scarlet woman (prostitute). the sickness would then be literal : an STD! and the man comes to see her in the night (thats when prostitutes work), and it would be invisible because no one would ever admit going to see a prostitute, which is also why the love is dark and secret!

It probably isn't what Blake had in mind, but i think it has a funny twist to it :)
Added by: debbie
you can't say for definite what a poem written in the 18th century is actually about, all poetry is open to personal interpretation like fine art. All your interpratations can be justified in argument, however this is the interpretation that i believe. The rose is a metaphor for England after the industrial revolution, the worm is the corruption that has taken over, which is slowly destroying what England was, and leading to an unknown future. if you look at Blakes poem London you will see what I mean.
the meaning as i have interpreted it
Added by: jenny miller
the poem sick rose can denote the serpent ("worm") relating to the garden of eden. this brings on the idea of innocence we realise before adam and eve were thrown out of earthly paradise for eating from the tree of knowlege, thus gaining experience into the world we are in today. the idea of sick rose looks at innocence in virgins and how sexual desires can corrupt. the poem looks at the church, which is the 17th century had very strict policies towards sex. the man in this poem takes the viginity of the girl in which she gains experience in this poem we look at the two contray states of the human soul. innocence and experience. blake who wrote this may be looking at us being able to have sexual freedom without it necessarily being conceited and hidden from society. the idea of hidden is be led by authority, which is a view balke did not belief was right.
north american literature
Added by: maricarmen
the rose means the love, the worm, more than an insect is the remorse.
the poem refers to the remorse that doesn't allow to love cleanly because the lover has betrayed his/her beloved and is tormenting at night.
Added by: Carrie
I am thinking that it is about desire or pleasure being by guilt(religion,calling the rose sick,etc). You(rose) are not perfect anymore because you gave in to your desires. The guilt over desire/pleasure destroys your life, because you want to be thought of as clean, pure, good. So, you have a miserable life because you don't do what you want because you want to be accepted or seen in a certain light. I also feel that most artists/entertainers will agree that there is no one interpretation, this is why they make it so open to interpretation. What fun would it be to make something that was obvious?

O Rose thou art sick.
The invisible worm.
That flies in the night
In the howling storm:

Has found out thy bed
Of crimson joy:
And his dark secret love
Does thy life destroy.

» Add a new comment.

« Return to the poem page.