Resource 3:Praise poems and stories

Teacher resource for planning or adapting to use with pupils

A Yoruba poem in praise of the python

Some praise poetry praises animals or objects rather than people. Here is a poem from the Yoruba people. Explanation of some of the language is provided after the poem.


1      Swaggering prince

Giant among snakes.

They say python has no house.

I heard it a long time ago

5      And I laughed and laughed and laughed.

For who owns the ground under the lemon grass?

Who owns the ground under the elephant grass?

Who owns the swamp – father of rivers?

Who owns the stagnant pool – father of waters?

10     Because they never walk hand in hand

People say that snakes walk only singly.

But just imagine

Suppose the viper walks in front

The green mamba follows

15     And the python creeps rumbling behind

Who will be brave enough

To wait for them?


To walk with a swagger is to walk proudly – thinking you are the best, showing off. In Line 1, the poem describes the python as a swaggering prince.

The questions in Lines 6 to 9 suggest that the python has many houses – both on the ground and in water.

In verse two, the poem suggests that other animals and people would be too frightened to walk next to the snakes – that is why snakes ‘walk’ singly (by themselves).

Original sources:Python taken from English Matters, Grade 7 Anthology, compiled by Lloyd, G. & Montgomery, K.

Resource 2: Name poems and stories

Resource 4: Preparing lessons on life stories