Written by Sam on Monday the 1st of February 2010
A collection of sketches: simple and honest, these poems seek to placate experience and depict the eternity beyond our landscape.
Written by Sam Rawlings, and with illustrations by Dan Prescott, Circle Time is an exploration into the nature of human experience. It focuses upon the way our emotional lives spiral as we grow older, the ways in which the echoes of our past are carried through time.
An Introduction to Circle Time
To me, poetry is representative of mystery, magic, romance, discovery; for in writing poetry, I often find that I am attempting to describe things for which there are currently no words.
Despite the inconceivable size of the universe around us, there often appears to be a general acceptance that our world is relatively well understood. Many of the whys and the wherefores seem to have been grasped and for the most part, within our culture at least, the answers have been given. However, I always find that if I begin to look through the cracks, stare long enough into the more subtle reaches of life, anomalies begin to appear, 'moments' begin to arise. This is a common theme in my work, as are the presence of spirals, circles, rhythm.
In this way then, Circle Time can be summerised as a journey through the seasons; the poems addressing and then re-addressing those waves of physical and emotional sensations, whether implicit or otherwise, that repeatedly rise and fall within us as our lives progress.
To conclude, I believe I wrote Circle Time because, despite being fiercely individualist, I also feel overwhelmingly, as if I am part of an enormous whole. Not only does it feel as if my body and my mind spirals, but so I'm sure, does everyone else's. In that way then, the whole city, the whole country, the whole world is moving, rotating; each of our spirals vulnerable to the influence of nature, the seasons, the circles of our lives expanding and contracting in time to the cycles of the sun, the moon. With each day, I find it becomes harder and harder to ignore the sensation that our whole universe is rolling and turning, cycling and spiraling around us, a forever evolving organism; a beautiful dance upon which the mysteries of existence itself are being played out, mysteries of such weight and depth that I don't suppose they will ever be revealed.
Step Inside Circle Time
Click the links below to read the poems in full, listen to readings and veiw some exclusive artwork:
1. When I
3. The Diminished
4. This Mourning I
5. Finally Falling Through the Flames
6. By Hope
"Sam Rawlings' poem 'Hung', taken from his collection Circle Time, is a stellar example. There is a keen sensitivity to the relation between sound and meaning on display here. To begin with, the internal rhyming of 'Humble', 'crumble' and 'stumble' connects the couple in the poem to ideas of breakdown and impermanence. The subsequent alliteration of 'stumble' and 'stomach' reminds us that the locus of the poem's (in)action is 'this lonely table', where the couple is caught in stasis, fit for a 'scene / Displayed on a wall'.
Perhaps the clearest example of the aural intricacy of the poem occurs in the last six lines:
'For the violence silent so beautiful between us,
For the slits across our wrists
Sown simply now by its title.
If only this frame wasn't so fragile,
Then maybe one day we
Could have hung it.'
The echo of 'violence silent' is wonderfully evocative in its juxtaposition of eruption and repression. That 'silent' alliterates with 'simply', which in turn assonates with 'slits' and 'wrists' should hardly be viewed as an accident. The troubled undercurrent of the poem has been brought into the open, and everything culminates in the last three lines' graceful understatement of regret."
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