Very early in the morning we were woken from our sleep,
We were going on safari, being driven in a jeep,
We went out before our breakfast, we went out before sunrise,
We went out before the sleep had fully vanished from our eyes.
We had to dress quite quickly, and we went out in a rush,
And after we'd been driving through miles and miles of bush
For an hour or two, I have to say - forgive the way I speak,
But the roads were very bumpy - I was dying for a leak.
The driver stopped the jeep and kindly offered us a drink,
But it might have been more kind if he had only paused to think;
We had seen a herd of elephants, some vultures in the sky,
Several wildebeest and zebra, a hyena passing by,
Giraffes, a pair of ostriches, a buffalo or two,
And we'd taken lots of photographs (well, that's what tourists do);
We had even seen some lions lazing underneath a tree,
But ... we hadn't seen a toilet ... and I really had to ***.
Beside a water-hole at last we found a pair of loos,
And I hurried to the gents', 'cos that's the one I have to use.
Yes, I went up to the gentlemen's, and pushed the door ajar,
But I didn't push it hard, and it didn't open far.
There was something in the way, you see. I did a double-take,
For it looked just like a tail, the last six inches of a snake.
I decided not to panic - I'm not that sort of bloke,
And it could have been a rubber one, left there for a joke -
So I pushed the door wide open, to be sure of no mistake,
And what should I clap eyes on but two yards of living snake!
I closed the door, quite firmly, and went to tell the guide,
"I was going to the loo, but then I found a snake inside."
He didn't quite believe me, but he went across to check.
- Not just a snake, a cobra! - "Gosh," I thought, and "Flipping Heck."
For the snake looked very supple, and the snake looked very strong,
And if it would uncurl itself, the snake looked very long,
And a cobra's bite is savage, and a cobra's bite is quick,
And if that snake had bitten me, I'd be feeling rather sick.
"It might even be a spitter, judging by the size,
"So don't you go too close, and please be careful of your eyes."
But I had to take a photograph, for that's what tourists do,
And, warily, I took a snap of the cobra in the loo.
The driver wrote a notice "Danger, Big Big Snake Inside",
And the lady with the first-aid box took out of it with pride
A strip of sticking plaster to stick it to the door,
To tell anyone who came, there was a cobra on the floor.
By now the snake was moving, it was climbing up the wall;
It hid behind the cistern, and could not be seen at all;
It came down again, and wrapped itself around the waste-pipe neatly,
Then slithered right inside the pan and disappeared completely.
Now I was on a mission to tell others what I'd seen,
But I was very conscious of the fact I'd Still Not Been!
So in that situation, though most times I wouldn't dare,
When I found the ladies' empty, I quickly popped in there.
I'd had a narrow squeak, but now (in every sense) relieved,
I had to write my story, which I hope will be believed,
For every word is gospel truth, I fully guarantee,
And it's even got a moral, which is very plain to see.
If you ever see a man who's coming from the ladies' loos,
Please don't jump to conclusions, he might have a good excuse,
- "I went to spend a penny, for my need was quite intense,
"And I had to use the ladies' - there's a cobra in the gents'!"
The record of a true encounter, in Zimbabwe a few years ago, when things were less difficult.