How Far? How Long?

Print Share
    How far is an inch?
    How long is a minute?
    You can measure them out
    with a yardstick
    or clock.
    You can measure an hour
    and a city block
    and the time it takes
    to stop and talk.
    Yardsticks and clocks
    are the usual way,
    but it’s how I feel
    that measures
    a day
    an hour
    a block.
    How far is a block?
    it’s just from here to the corner.
    An inch is quite long
    to something quite small.
    Sometimes a minute
    is nothing at all.
    An hour’s forever
    when I watch the clock,
    but it seems
    like a minute
    when I stop to talk
    at each of the shops
    along the block—
    the block that’s from
    here to the corner.
    How long is a minute?
    It’s nothing at all
    when I am out playing
    and hear Mother call.
    I say,
    “In a minute—”
    Then Mother says,
    But the time gets mixed up, and I don’t see how.
    I say,
    “Just a minute—”
    and Mother says,
    That minute was over five minutes ago!”
    But if I am waiting to go to a show,
    a grown-up’s minute
    How far is an inch?
    I know on a ruler
    it’s just that far.
    But it seems to change
    with the size you are.
    It would be several steps
    for an ant or a fly,
    or just one hop
    for a bird going by.
    An inch-step for me
    would be nothing at all,
    because to a bird
    or an ant
    I am tall!
    I guess it’d have thousands
    of inches to walk
    if an ant
    went clear to the end of the block.
    How far is an inch?
    One single inch?
    One little inch?
    I know on a ruler it’s not very much,
    but it’s quite a long way for bugs and such.
    With empty time and nothing to do,
    an hour
    and a day
    are never through.
    But when I’m busy,
    they go by
    as quickly
    as any plane can fly.
    How long
    is an hour?
    a day?
    a minute?
    It all depends
    on just what’s in it!

    [illustrations] Illustrated by Phyllis Luch