LAST WALLS: Marina Tan

Last Walls is a partnership between Thiscene Media and If Walls Could Talk. Every week, organizer Melizarani T. Selva gives us one of her favorite poems from the last If Walls Could Talk and we put it up on the site.

This poem was performed at IF WALLS COULD TALK vol.30 feat Marina Tan and Beverly Matujal, on Thursday, February 9, 2017. 


My Little Brother Tells Me Tales

by Marina Tan

Illustrated by Alan Shamsudin (see gallery above)


My little brother tells me tales,

Of jungles, and rivers, and mangrove trails,

Where animals and birds like to roam,

But—says my brother—all in our home!


A wooden front door opens wide,

And welcomes us into life inside:

Our Living Room, a forest lush?

Fun jungle music breaks the hush!


Rhino jives to the driving beat,

Coconut water will stop the heat,

Elephant drinks, then as a joke,

Sprays it around, so the others soak!


Leopard doesn’t think it’s cute—

He’s all wet, and must change his suit!

Tiger loves water, so she roars with glee,

Civet Cat squeaks! …and scoots behind a tree.


Time for a snack—the Kitchen’s cosy,

Anteater’s poking here and there, all nosy,

With Tapir and cheery Porcupine.

No bugs or scraps—our kitchen’s fine!


Up the Stairs, jungle vines loop,

Shady palm leaves gently droop,

Shy Fruit Bats and Birds of Paradise

Fly past Chameleon, who pops opens his eyes.


Homework time—it’s abuzz in the Study,

Otter is helping Sun Bear, her buddy

Write “I’m a Bear” and learn to spell.

“Here’s some honey, Sunny, you’re doing well!”


Noisy Parrot talks a lot today,

Orangutan and he are at play,

One smart move in this game of chess—

Cheers for Orangutan’s success!


Squirrel and Tree-Shrew draw each other,

“Look, my brother from another mother!”

“We’re so fine,” they say (rather vainly),

“With skill and hard work, we’ll go far, plainly!”


Bathtime—who’s splashing, behind that door?

Water’s spilling onto the floor!

The bathtub is filled and overflowing…

The spill of water—it’s going and growing!


No wonder! The tub is full to the brim,

With happy Dugong, three Whales with him…

Crocodile, Turtle, and Rubber Duckie.

Just a small flood? We’ve been lucky!


Where are those ears, to scrub behind?

Use a sponge—the biggest you can find!

Hope they clean their teeth and gums,

So there’ll be no germs from dinner crumbs.


Off to the Bedroom, it’s time to sleep,

But what do we count, instead of sheep?

Five little Monkeys, jumping on the bed!

Oops! Leaf Monkey’s fallen and bumped his head.


One little Monkey, crying in pain,

The others shush him, but in vain.

When Proboscis Monkey, nose all a-wiggle,

Says, “I know! Let us make him giggle!”


They tell him jokes, tickle their own toes,

Proboscis puts a sock—on his own pink nose!

Slow Loris gently rubs the bump,

And Leaf Monkey stops feeling like a grump.


It’s quiet now, and time for bed,

The Monkeys share the warm bedspread.

“Goodnight,” says Brother, “Goodnight, Moon.”

And his story is done, over too soon.


On quiet nights, when the kind moon beams,

I think of Brother and his fun daydreams.

I wish they’d come true—that’s asking quite a bit.

But a home, safe for all, sounds good—doesn’t it?



Marina Tan is an actor/director, teacher/facilitator, and currently Artistic Head for Pusat Kreatif Kanak-kanak Tuanku Bainun. Her interests include family theatre, Shakespeare, as well as everyday human stories told with contemporary realism. Onscreen, Marina is thrilled to have undergone the unique experience of motion capture acting in the International Emmy-nominated Saladin the Animated Series.


Alan Shamsudin is a Malaysian illustrator and animator based in Prague.


If Walls Could Talk is a live poetry night at Gaslight Cafe, Plaza Damansara, every second Thursday of the month.