Rising Five - by Norman Nicholson

Rising Five - by Norman Nicholson

Rising Five

"I'm rising five" he said
"Not four" and the little coils of hair
Un-clicked themselves upon his head.
His spectacles, brimful of eyes to stare
At me and the meadow, reflected cones of light
Above his toffee-buckled cheeks. He'd been alive
Fifty-six months or perhaps a week more;
Not four
But rising five.

Around him in the field, the cells of spring
Bubbled and doubled; buds unbuttoned; shoot
And stem shook out the creases from their frills,
And every tree was swilled with green.
It was the season after blossoming,
Before the forming of the fruit:
Not May
But rising June.

And in the sky
The dust dissected the tangential light:
Not day
But rising night;
Not now
But rising soon.

The new buds push the old leaves from the bough.
We drop our youth behind us like a boy
Throwing away his toffee-wrappers. We never see the flower,
But only the fruit in the flower; never the fruit,
But only the rot in the fruit. We look for the marriage bed
In the baby's cradle; we look for the grave in the bed;
Not living
But rising dead.

Comment closely on the poem Rising Five, looking in particular at

how Nicholson uses imagery.

“Rising Five” is about how people want to grow up quickly, and

therefore how we want to rush through our lives and our youth. It is

also about how we do not appreciate our precious and present moments

in our lives, the fact that we are always looking forward into the

future and not focusing on what we have now. The imagery used in this

poem complements and emphasizes these messages to the reader, creating

a ‘rushed’ tone and effect. For example, we immediately get the

feeling of someone who is rushing in the first line of the poem “I’m

rising five”.

Stanza one is about a boy who is 4 years and 8 months – “He’d been

alive/Fifty-six months or perhaps a week more”. “Fifty-six months”

sounds like a much longer time than 4 years and 8 months. We also

know that he is...

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