I'd like to comment on what Glen Shorts said. Apparently Glen thinks that this poem is advocating the shrinking and belittling actions of the gardener, but lets explore this a bit why don't we? First of all, lets look at the title. A work of Artifice. Artifice almost literally means a social stupidity. So the title of this poem means 'A Work of Social Stupidity'. Now, lets look at who wrote the poem and when. A woman wrote this poem in the 1930's, when women were supposed to stay at home and clean and have kids. However, we know today that women have just as much potential as men do. So if one wants to look at the metaphors in the poem, the tree growing 80 feet tall is the potential of a woman, but society then was whittling them down and making them only 9' tall, less than 1% of their potential. The writer is not talking about literal height, she is comparing height to potential. The general tone of the poem is that the writer is pretty pissed off at what women are subjected to during this time period. Any more points you would like to make? Also...just throwing this out there...I'm a football player, and I'm not some couch potato that sits around all day. Also, there is a reason our culture is the way it is, and that is because that is how we want it. You may deny that you have inert aggressive leanings, but you would be lying. Marge Piercy obviously does.