Swedish For Immigrants – Week 16


Verbal abuse

These verbs I know
will someday be of use
these tenses do so stress
I must confess
but will endure
these eight more days
I didn’t know were still to go
I never seem to know
what’s coming next
these texts a complex sum of words.

I do not fit
this SFI curriculum
designed for immigrants
much younger than myself
some dozen years at least
and coming from the middle east.

*                       *                       *

I’d thought I’d be on holiday by now, but have misunderstood. Still two more days to go, the last test Wednesday, then a party Thursday, then I’m done. New classes start the second week of January. I am far from able to rise up to ‘C’ level this next semester, but the majority of my class will stay in ‘B’, though they know more than I. Most of their problems are with writing, I believe. One has to write text of 100 plus correct words in order to move on. I was able to write 50 words only one mistake last week, but they were written in present tense and the test had called for past tense. Duh. Strangely enough I scored a 95%, a 90% and a 70% on the last 3 tests. A vast improvement, but still so far to go.

One of my classmates showed me photos of his house and homeland in Afghanistan last week. They were so picturesque they made me sad. The little town, houses and village school were modest, but idyllic, green pastures, farmland and mountains on the horizon. There were photos of his 19 year-old son who is still there. What’s going on behind those images I wonder. Why has he come to Sweden. Can’t be easy.

I cannot resist sharing one more poem by Binnie Andersson, first in English (my translation) then in Swedish from the original.

From: Swedish For Immigrants – Published by Immigrant Institute

Suddenly I am a Foreigner
Binnie Kristal-Andersson

Suddenly I am a foreigner
suddenly I am alone
in a foreign country
foreign eyes
staring at me
I try to look friendly
I try to explain
with my quiet humble eyes
why I am here
in your country old lady
who sits beside me on the bus
and stares at me angrily.
Why do you look so angry?
I know that I don’t
look exactly
like the others
I know I cannot speak
your language
as well as you
but believe me old lady
I want to love you
and your country
if you do not count me out
before I get
a chance.

*                                 *                               *

From: Svewnska för Invandrare
Binnie Kristal-Anderson

Plöbtsligt är jag utlänning
plöbtsligt står jag ensam
i ett främmande land
främmande ögon
stirrar på mig
jag försöker se vänlig ut
jag försoker förklara
med min ödmjuka tysta blick
varför jag är här
i ditt land, gamla dam
och sitter bredvid mig i bussen
och stirrar argt på mig
Varför ser du så arg ut?
jag vet att jag inte
ser ut precis
som de andra
jag vet att jag inte kan prata
ditt sprak
lika bra som du
Men tro mig, gamla dam
jag vill älska dig
och ditt land,
om du inte domer ut mig
innan jag får
en chans.

*                                 *                                  *

Christmas will be a new experience for them . . . and snow.

I hope it’s a good one for them, and for you, and for all of us.


About Bruce Louis Dodson

Bruce Louis Dodson is an American expat now living in Borlänge, Sweden with his wife, cat and dog. He is an artist and world traveler who writes fiction and poetry and practices photography in his less than copious free time. His work has appeared in: Barely South Review - Boundaries Issue, Blue Collar Review, Pulsar Poetry (UK), Foliate Oak, Breadline Press West Coast Anthology . The E-buffet, Qarrtsiluni, Struggle Magazine, Pearl Literary Magazine, Contemporary Literature Review: India, 3rd Wednesday, Sleeping Cat Books - Trip of a Lifetime Anthology, Northern Liberties Review, Authors Abroad - Foreign & and Far Away Anthology, The Path, Page & Spine, The Crucible, Sleeping Cat Books -Trips of a Lifetime, Vine Leaves, Pirene's Fountain,Tic Toc Anthology - Kind of a Hurricane Press, Cordite Poetry Review, Buffalo Almanac and mgv2.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to Swedish For Immigrants – Week 16

  1. Bruce, you have written such an open, gentle holiday greeting. My best to your wife. I look forward to following your experiences in the NEW YEAR.

  2. Dear Bruce, my heart bled for you as you shared your experience of the last few days of the classes, my heart ached as you told about the class-mate’s village, and my heart broke when i read that beautiful poem…so telling…
    Thank you for your Christmas greetings, and hope yours is a happy one… valerie

    • bldodson says:

      Thanks Valerie,
      I’m feeling pretty good the way things are going at school now.
      It feels like I’ve finally got my feet on the ground, have some kind of a toe hold.
      If I can ever get to the point where I can read a book I will go zooming ahead.
      I’m wishing you and yours a happy Christmas and a great new year. It’s been a great pleasure knowing you.

  3. Don’t let those verbs get you so ‘tense’ Bruce. keep them in the past and you’ll do well. 😉 A great piece good to see that you’re getting there, and I loved the poem. Both of them.

    • bldodson says:

      Thanks Laurie,
      I’m feeling much more relaxed now.
      Good to have you back again.
      I forgot where you were off to??

      • You’re welcome Bruce. Great to hear you’re relaxed, school can get tense. We went interstate for a week or so to attend a wedding and I fell foul of depression. Pretty much lost the will to do anything. I live with ptsd from my military service and when one rears its head the other usually follows. So being online wasn’t doing me any good at all. I’m back and feeling better, just taking my time to ease back in though.

      • bldodson says:

        Wow! Glad to hear things are on the upswing Laurie!
        Wishing you the best in Sweden!

      • Thanks Bruce, I’m getting there.
        Alla de bästa för jul och nyår, för dig och din familj.

  4. This is a thoroughly enjoyable read, a worthwhile posting, Bruce. You’re doing well at school so no more worries, you’re getting there, you have a grip on things.

    Best Always

  5. Gyslaine L. says:

    I am sure New Year will be very good for you. I wish you a Merry Christmas 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s