Rising Five

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The poem, ‘Rising Five,’ by Norman Nicholson is how people look at life; how we are not enjoying the moment and always looking forward. He uses metaphors, alliteration, assonance, and imagery to do this. As the poem progresses, the poem shows the reader that not only children look to the future, but everybody, all the time. The structure of ‘Rising Five’ is very irregular. There are 4 stanzas, each with a different number of lines and syllables. The first stanza ends with ‘not four’ on a line by itself, then ‘but rising five’ also on its own line. The second stanza starts and also ends in the same way, but with ‘May’ instead of ‘four,’ and ‘June’ instead of ‘five.’ The next stanza has only a few words on each line. The last stanza is like the first 2 stanzas. There is also an irregular rhyme scheme with very few rhymes. There are half rhymes; ‘bubbled’ and ‘doubled,’ and full rhymes; ‘light’ and ‘night.’ The tone of the first stanza starts out light and happy, with a four-year-old boy looking forward to his fifth birthday. As ‘Rising Five’ continues, the tone gets more somber as it describes larger and more tranquil things, like twilight and flowers. This shows that people look forward to almost everything, from their birthdays to the seasons changing from spring to summer. At first, the poet describes the little boy looking forward to turning five and not appreciating being four. As the poem progresses, the theme becomes more pronounced and more serious. Nicholson writes about how it is not only children who don’t live life to its fullest. That everybody does it; how we look for ‘the fruit in the flower,’ ‘the rot in the fruit,’ and ‘the marriage bed in the cradle.’ We don’t appreciate the flower, but anticipate the fruit. When we have the fruit, we see only the rot that will be there. That people can be ungrateful for what they have, and that we should be grateful for each moment of our lives....
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