Martin is an elephant who lives with a Mouse in a house shaped like a leaf. His friends are of unknown species/breed/animal—you can decide, although considering the story I think they’re probably all mice.
Martin was tall and he lived with a mouse,
In a chestnut-leafed shaped little two-storey house,
Because of his size, Martin sometimes felt sad,
That his house was too small—but it was all he had.
He slept in a room that was dark and quite lonely,
Couldn’t sleep till he’d plugged both his laptop and phone in,
His cumbersome feet and his nose great and large,
Gave him feelings of hate and the hate it took charge.
He’d go out a lot, spend his money on wine,
And taxis back home to pretend he felt fine,
He’d tell all his friends he both loved what he did,
His work in the office, and the house where he lived.
The days blended in, back and forth from the line,
Between work and his bed, and some paid overtime,
With the odd intersection of lunch in the café,
A Bank Holiday Sunday, or a hazlenut latté.
Though the Mouse he could see, Martin’s outlook was grim,
His friend couldn’t shake off the flump he was in,
“He needs to see,” thought the Mouse with a grin,
“That he’s great as he is, even with his grey skin”
Because Martin had friends, and he knew they were there,
He’d made sure to tell them and to make them aware,
Of his mind as it was, that he sometimes felt troubled,
He made sure that they knew he got easily muddled.
And because of his honesty, hard as it was,
To explain a thing with no obvious cause,
The friends they stuck by him, and cared nonetheless,
They helped when they saw he was in some distress.
They came to his house, and they brewed up some tea,
Got him to write down his thoughts just to see,
If seeing them there, all in letters and words,
Would make them seem real for once and not absurd.
They told him they’d listen and not to be scared,
That sometimes this life can be cruel and unfair,
Refused to hear “sorry” and stayed a long while,
They stayed until Martin’s face dried with a smile.
When left all alone again for the next time,
Martin sat and he thought, and he made up a rhyme,
He thought and he thought, and he wished he could find,
A way to show thanks for their help with his mind.
For helping him see what he couldn’t alone,
That though he was big, grey and accident-prone,
His worth by his sorrow it wasn’t defined,
He thanked them from his heart for being so kind.
For though he loved his friend, all that Martin could see,
When he looked at the Mouse, was still great jealousy,
Because mice they are small, they don’t take up much space,
And Martin just felt like he got in the way.
“We’re not any different,” said Mouse, “can’t you see—
You’re simply just naturally bigger than me!”
“You need your own space, I’ll be here forever,
We probably just shouldn’t live here together!”
And so Mouse, he concluded, had helped him realise,
That though friends till the end, his own health had been tried,
The leaf where they lived, Martin had to admit,
Was simply not right, and he just didn’t fit.
So he went to the shop, and for once chose to do,
What suited him best, and he started anew,
“I’ll miss you, dear Mouse, but this change is for me”—
And he moved all the way to his very own tree.
Author: Jenny Ní Ruiséil
Editor: Emily Bartran
Photos: Used with Permission via Michelle Russell