8 March 2018



We measured our mountains in feet
Edging up them one foot at a time
Until ultimately
We reached their lofty summits
Where sometimes
We found piles of stones or cairns
That added more feet
To those mountain tops.
You could see for miles.
But now it seems
We are required
To measure our hills in metres
Quantify liquids in litres
Their aim being to defeat us
- One of the troubling features
Of this modern world.
Yet I, undefeated,
Still stand
Six feet tall
- Exactly.


  1. To repeat an old quatrain of mine:

    Sesquipedalian's a foot and a half,
    It's a word very few these days know.
    But the ignorant masses will have the last laugh:
    The world has gone metric, you know.

    P.S. -- As you are six feet tall exactly, we in the hinterlands and former colonies will henceforth think of you as four sesquipedalians.

    1. Thanks for putting your foot in it Bob!
      "Sesquipedalian" is a splendid word and I am pleased that I can claim to be four of them...exactly.

    2. Thank you for the new-to-me word, rhymeswithplague! And the more of us who know it, the more likely it is to survive. I'll do my part to spread it :)

    3. Although sesquipedalian is literally "one and a half feet" its normal meaning is "very long"....

  2. I still think in feet and inches, too. That's what I was taught as a kid.

    I stood tall at a fraction under 5ft 9 inches...and at six feet if standing on my two feet clad in three-inch high heels aka stilettos! And 6ft 1 inch if wearing 4-inch high heels!!

    I no longer wear high heels, but I still stand tall! :)

  3. The powers-that-be in the USA tried to prepare us all to convert to the metric system in the 1970s and they failed miserably. The states are still wedded to miles and feet and inches. I didn't consider learning a new system a "defeat" or an affront to my sovereignty, though! I honestly don't care what we use as long as everyone is using it -- the more, the merrier. (Having said that, temperature-wise I can still only think in Fahrenheit.)

  4. Over the pond, we still measure mountains in feet.

    That is not your foot. Any foot that trod around for years in those dirty old boots you used to complain about does not look that pristine!

    Used to be 67 inches tall.....now 66 inches in bare feet. As much work as I do on this mountain in my old dirty boots, my feet are not pretty either. (Oh, except for the red polished nails!)

  5. I grew up with millimetres, centimetres, metres and kilometres, grams and kilograms and so on. It was never questioned here, and our maths teacher told us how the "original metre" was kept in Paris and how for centuries, units to measure distances and weights differed greatly from one place to the other, sometimes within the boundaries of one kingdom or dukedom.

    By the way, I am 5'8" last time I checked.

  6. I like the poem very much. You're 6 feet tall just as tall as my 182cm tall husband.
    I am 167cm tall registered on my I.D. card.
    Greetings Maria x

  7. My brain is a mixture of imperial and metric, as I grew up with the former but Canada converted to metric just after I left school. I still remember the number of feet and yards in a mile that were drilled into me fifty years ago, although I haven't had to use them since. The only metric units I use in preference to imperial are the (outside) temperature and vehicular speed. With everything else I am functional but hazy :)

    Your poem is delightful - it proves measurement is just a concept and changes nothing that matters. On the other hand, bone deterioration and spending time in space CAN change a person's height! Thirty years ago I was just under five feet tall but that may not still be the case. And not because I'm an astronaut.

  8. Oh yes, I like that poem. Regarding metres, I have never really got my head around the metric business. lol

  9. Even though I had to teach metric for years to 10 and 11 year olds I still convert to feet and inches etc to give meaning to myself. I guess it's just ingrained. but I'm sort of glad I didn't have to drum in all those different equivalences in the old Imperial system.

  10. I'd say that somebody really doesn't like the metric system. I've got used to it and have to think about the English system.

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