What does this poem mean?
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.
It was written by William Blake:
1807 portrait by Thomas Phillips.
And was self-published in the 1790s.
(When I say self-published, I mean that Blake did the design, illustration, engraving and publicity, and that his wife Catherine did the printing, and any colouring not done by her husband.)
What does the poem mean?
Well, something between nothing-at-all and more-or-less-everything, I would say.
That's the most magical thing about it.
Word To Use Today: rose. This word has been English since before the Norman Conquest. The word comes from the Latin rosa, and probably from the Greek rhoden, both of which mean rose.