September 17th, 2017 Posted In: Writing Tags: 2017, Language, Poetry, Scotland, Swedish


Learning Swedish,
I had a head start
In this language studded
With words I already know
A Christmas cake plump with raisins

The German words lost their Z and SCH
Smoothed and polished away like stones on a beach
Thanks to Konung Jean Bernadotte,
An elev goes to school
And you buy a biljet for the bus.
English threads through everything,
A stratum that twists and turns

And Scots, east coast Scots

Barn, hus, hem, sten, gråta, kvinna, bra –
As in Scotland, you do not pet a dog,
Vi klappar en hund
A lanky Swede who likes football
pronounces Stenhousemuir just me
Words taken from Scotland to Sweden?
Or left during Viking rape and pillage?

A family visit, my brother, his child.
At the marine centre we dipped into the depths,
Looking down the viewer
To see the world below

The lassie (kvinna, quine, queen)
showed us how to look
Like many, she spoke
American-flavour English
When Siobhan – aged six – got the trick
And saw the jellies floating
The Swedish lassie smiled and said braw!