Rising Five by Norman Nicholson Analyze “Rising Five” in detail, with reference to the text. “Rising Five” is written by Norman Nicholson. Nicholson had a sick childhood, and during illnesses, he would write his poems. He always wrote in relation to nature. His persistent illnesses make him appreciate life even more. In “Rising Five”, his main theme is the fact that people are always looking to the future, and seldom look at their present. In this poem, there is a significant metaphor, the character of a little boy.
Nicholson relates the young boy’s behavior and appearance to his inner desire to grow up quickly. He represents people, and their constant desire to grow, with the thought that maturity would give them better choices in life. The poem starts off with a well heard of phrase, “I’m rising five”. This line hints on the theme of the poem. A four year old child is anxious to grow up, he never enjoys the present, but instead, wants to be five already. This phrase gives a pleasant sound to the poem.
The part, ‘I’m Rising’, implies an upward, relaxed motion, with the long vowel ‘I’m’ giving the phrase an easy expansiveness. The effect Norman achieved was the idea of unlimited time and space, The poem starts off with a child stating his age, “I’m rising five”. This first line already gives hint that people never look at the present. The boy, himself is looking forward to growing up. The phrase “little coils” of hair, with the “L” sound ath the end, gives a very happy, innocent, and light tone to the first stanza. Brimful of eyes to stare” this phrase gives the readers the impression of an adorable cild, and helps lighten the tone. “Above his toffee buckled cheeks” lets us know that the boy was not out of his childhood yet, he still loves candy. Nicholson adds, that the boy had been alive for “fifty six months or perhaps a week more”, with this, he is drowning the readers with information, fifty six months sounds longer than four years, and “perhaps a week more” emphasizes the point even more. The poet further explores this idea, this time using natural settings to represent his ideas. “Cells of spring” continues o give a light hapy tone to this stanza, and the alliterations “bubbled and doubled”, ”buds unbuttoned” together with the “shoot and stem shook creases from their frills” gives us the impression that a lot is happening at once, and we ourselves are unable to stop it. Nicholson shows the power of nature. However, he still ends the stanza in a similar theme, that e are looking forward: “season after blossoming, before the forming of the fruit, not may, but rising June”. Here, the tone of the poem begins to drift into graver tones towards the end, with words like “blossoming” and “swilled”.
It gives readers the impression that from childhood innocence, it is blossoming into more mature situations. The fragmented sentences after the stanza, helps prepare readers for the upcoming gloomy stanza of the last paragraph, With its dramatic pauses in between each line and helps build up some tension. “In the sky, the dust dissected tangential light” This line creates a gloomy introduction to the beginning of the end of the poem. “Not day, but rising night, not now, but rising soon ” The repetition of the words ‘rising’ in two different situations further imposes the idea about humans looking forward.
The use of the words ‘night’ and ‘soon’ brings a more serious and grave tone to the poem, and blends in perfectly with the last paragraph. The final stanza is a culmination of the ideas Nicholson introduced at the start of the poem. He had explored representing his ideas through nature and childhood. “The new buds…the bough” brings us to almost a new cycle starting again for the plants. Then the line is followed by: “We drop our youth behind…toffee wrappers” The use of the word toffee wrappers once again suggests childhood, and the act of “throwing away” toffee wrappers show us that the childhood is cast off, gone.
This is followed by lines about nature, “Only flower in the fruit,…rot in the fruit”, Relating nicholson’s idea of how we perceive life, using fruit as a representation. We all look at the next stage, and seldom aht the present stage of life. He ends the poem with lines: “We look for the marriage bed…the grave in the bed”. In a way, he is telling us that the seasons can change and the cycle starts again for nature, but for the individual there is no repetition of the cycle. “Not living, but rising dead” shows us the reality of life, that although we look forward to the future, we are continuously moving towards the end too.