The Path

                    To my ESL instructors

  Good morning, ma’am!
  Good morning, teacher!

  We are
            black, blond, and gray haired
                  from
                  African savannas,
                  Amazon forests,
                  Arabic deserts,
                  Asian rice paddies,

  coming here to study English.

 Our instructor, our Guide says,
            “Just
                   listen
                        speak
                              read
                                   write
                                        in English."

 Our eyes,
             black, blue, brown,
                             look at each other.

 How can we
        fill out several pages of writing
                             with a handful of English words?

 How can we
            draw a picture of a huge animal
                             from its enormous shadow?

 How can we
              cross a field
                              without trampling on the grass?

 How can we
             construct a new building
                               without destroying our old houses?

 Our essays
             are full of marks
                               like stabs in our hearts.

 We feel the pain of a cocoon.

 Arduously
              we develop a new path
                               from vague trails.

 Slowly
                   we build a new house
                              beside the old one.

 Surprisingly
             our words flow onto the paper.

 Bit by bit
             the path goes through
                                the African savannas
                                      the Amazon forests
                                the Arabian deserts
                                the Asian rice paddies.

 Our dream is that
                     one day
                                the path
                                           becomes a highway.

Our instructor, our Guide,
                                        smiles,
                                                  “Possible!”                                     

By T. Nguyen
ESL 91 – Fall 2005

The poetry was edited by Ms. Dorothy Pucay, ESL instructor.