H for the Herpetologist, whose service
Informing us about the world of snakes
Has left him curled up, shivering with the shakes,
Since every kind of reptile makes him nervous.

He can’t stand cobras, which he meets by dozens—
One of the hazards of his line of work—
Or cottonmouths, or rattlesnakes that lurk
Deep in the woods, with all their hissing cousins.

The harmless little garter snake that sleeps
In unmowed grass sends shivers up his spine;
A simple black snake makes him fuss and whine,
And, frankly, even worms give him the creeps.

And so at night the poor man lies in bed
With nightmares running through his fevered brain,
Hating all snakes, and wishing once again
That he had picked tarantulas instead.