Don Paterson

Don Paterson


The Roundabout. 2015

 For Jamie and Russ


It’s moving still, that wooden roundabout

we found at the field’s end, sunk in the grass

like an ancient buckler from the giants’ war.

The first day of good weather, our first out

after me and your mother. Its thrawn mass

was like trying to push a tree over, or row

a galley sealed in ice. I was all for

giving up when we felt it give, and go.

What had saved the axle all those years?

It let out one great drawn-out yawn and swung

away like a hundred gates. Our hands still burning

we lay and looked up at a sky so clear

there was nothing in the world to prove our turning

but our light heads, and the wind’s lung.

A Scottish teenager, Don Paterson (born 1963) at 16  stopped attending school.  He went on playing music , lived his life and one full year  gave to reading and writing. In 1993 he published his first collection of poems Nil Nil ; this work instantly received acclaim  and a literary award FORWARD for the best poetry of the year. Since then Paterson`s every collection merits a literary prize. Paterson has a particular  interest in a sonnet form.  He happens to be editing, translating and  writing sonnets.  His 2015 collection 40 Sonnets  was nominated for the COSTA poetry  award. Roundabout is a sonnet from this collection.

An excerpt from  The Guardian  review of 40 sonnets:

For all the verve* and (in the case of his political poems) fervour of his work, it is when he turns to love that the collection takes flight. Sexual love is here, of course, but he celebrates friendship, too, and family. Throughout his career Paterson has been consistently brilliant on the complexity and exigency of parental love, and the collection’s final sonnet, “The Roundabout”, about a father’s day out with his sons in the wake of his separation from their mother, is an understated masterpiece through which he manages to convey both the father’s guilt and his sons’ resilience: the fact that it is their energy that keeps the world turning, and the grief and pride that this creates.”

Sarah Crown.

Saturday 26 September 2015 10.30 BST. 40 Sonnets review – the perfect vehicle for Don Paterson’s craft and lyricism.[accessed online 07 04 2016]

* ​great ​energy and ​enthusiasm: She ​delivered her ​speech with ​tremendous ​wit and verve.(Cambridge dictionary online)