Disruptions of Roundness in Language, Poetry and Culture

Humans are strangely obsessed with the perceptual and conceptual disruption of round things, especially eyes. Evidence for this is available in art, idiomatic language, fictional literature, the poetry of Medium and elsewhere. Other animals feel the same way.

10 min readFeb 23, 2022


Wassily Kandinsky’s “Several Circles.” In this painting there are about 40 circles of different sizes and colors, some of them overlapping and some not. The background is black. Photo from WikiArt. Public domain.
Wassily Kandinsky’s “Several Circles.” Photo from WikiArt. Public domain.

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate.
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer’s lease hath all too short a date.
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimmed;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance, or nature’s changing course, untrimmed;
But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st,
Nor shall death brag thou wand’rest in his shade,
When in eternal lines to Time thou grow’st.
So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

— Shakespeare, “Sonnet 18” (Open Source Shakespeare 2022)


Fiery Eyes and Other Roundness Disruption in Poetry
Disruptions of Roundness in Poems on Medium (52)
Cultural Examples
Animal Ornamentation, Eggs and Flowers
Works Cited

Fiery Eyes and Other Roundness Disruption in Poetry

Poetry and language, like other aesthetic phenomena, frequently exhibit mixtures of references to roundness with those to the relatively exciting perceptual qualities heat, fluidity, disorder, brightness, dynamism, upwardness, outwardness, multiplicity, spikiness and length. If the roundness disruption effect is defined as the aesthetic juxtaposition of roundness with these simple qualities then Shakespeare’s “Sonnet 18,” one of the most admired poems, contains several examples.

In the third line, supposedly round buds are shaking dynamically and interacting with the fluid wind, which is a “rough,” disorderly kind of wind, and May…




A concept of aesthetic complexity based on universal animal preferences for mixtures of simple, more and less exciting physical and psychological opposites.