Berg - 2
Marvellous Doors
by Jane Berg

“…but more marvelous than anything is the suffering of men and women.” Oscar Wilde

Weeks before
in learning new words and phrases
the students converse about the way
of friendship in their culture
for example, do you
            Hang out?
in other words, get convivial.
Do you text, WhatsApp, WeChat, Telegram?

            it is and it is not the same

One student is upset by Americans
who treat dinner parties like McDonald’s
where they dine and dash
Shouldn’t stories and wine and song
be shared into the fine dawning hours
where I and we and mine are blurred?

            or at least misunderstood

One marvels at how lawns slope
all the way to the street
and children mind one another
roaming their neighbourhood like kings

Learning prepositions of place:
                        I am the visitor
“How do I get to your door?
Imagine I am on the street, where do I turn?
Do I drive, walk, take a tram, bus or train?”

Even weeks before the class was cancelled
such things changed significance
Words shift, eyes absent, introspect —
            one fixed on a certain point of earth
            the other on our fast moving planets
My hands have only a stack of pages
loosely held at that and
fret with every breath of wind

We carriers of nothing
            even then
                        potential hosts

“Teacher — now we are the visitors,
how do we get to your home?”

“First, you have to fly south a very long way
            where now it is summer
Between the mountains and the warm ocean
there is a lake full of lotus flowers and bull rushes;
at night blue leopards come
to the water’s edge to drink
In the hills above the lake my house is,
the door is made of an ancient Yellowwood
it is always open to visitors”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jane Berg is a writer and photographer from South Africa. She graduated from Rhodes University with a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Media Studies, and currently lives in Houston, Texas. This year she attempted NaPoWriMo  — check out the results at  — and usually be found tweeting haiku and micro-poetry @nowiammyself.