"Rising Five" by Normal Nicholson

Essay by nilalaHigh School, 11th gradeA, May 2007

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Norman Nicholson, a well known poet of the twentieth century, highlights the difference in perception between an adult and a child in the poem "Rising Five". As one grows older, his/her views regarding various issues begin to change and differ from the views a child would have.

In the first stanza Nicholson there is a child of four going on five; representing that age of our childhood when all children are very conscious of their age and are yearning and longing to be part of the adult world. The poet successfully brings the child's personality and character to life, using effective imagery, metaphors and words, "little coils of hair", "brimful of eyes", and "toffee buckled cheeks". The enthusiasm and readiness of the child to start a new phase of his life comes through here. On reading the initial stanza we see he is a chubby boy, wearing big spectacles and his mouth is buckled with toffee.

The phrase "reflected cones of light" signifies our vision, which becomes narrower and narrower as we grow older, just like a cone, which is wide at the base and narrow at the top.

The next stanza represents the energy spreading throughout the beginning of spring in full force, and creating a cheerful aspect of the natural surroundings, with stems, buds and branches beginning to open. Everything is green and beautiful, and so full of opportunity and possibility just like out youth which is the best period of out life.

Then comes the dust in our life, making out vision unclear. The dust literally means polluted landscape but here it may signify the problems in our life. Our view becomes more angled, and the poet creates a very interesting contrast between day and night here which represents the different phases of...