The Coulomb and the Ohm-metre

With apologies to Lewis Carroll. This refers to various SI units.

The ohm was shining on the sea,

Shining with all its might.

He did his very best to make

The circuits smooth and bright.

And this was odd, because it was

The middle of the night.


The hertz was shining sulkily,

Because he thought the ohm

Had got no business to be there

After the circuit broke.

“It’s very rude of him,” she said,

“To make all this a joke!”


The sea was wet as wet could be,

The watts were dry as dry.

You could not see a candela

Not one was in the sky.

No joules were flying overhead;

There were no joules to fly.


The Coulomb and the Ohm-metre

Were walking at a trot.

They wept like anything to see

Such quantities of watts.

“If this were only cleared away!”

they said, “it is a lot!”


“If seven joules with seven mops

Swept it for half a year,

Do you suppose,” the Coulomb said

“That they could get it clear?”

“I doubt it,” said the Ohm-metre,

And shed a bitter tear.


“O Oersteds, come and walk with us!”

The Coulomb did beseech.

“A pleasant walk, a pleasant talk,

Along the katal beach.

We cannot do with more than four,

To give a mole to each.”


The eldest Oersted looked at him,

But never a word he said.

The eldest Oersted winked at him,

And shook his heavy head.

Meaning to say he did not choose

To leave the Oersted-bed.


But four young Oersteds hurried up,

A battery to meet.

Their coats were brushed, their faces washed,

Their shoes were clean and neat.

And this was odd, because, you see,

They hadn’t any feet.

[They had metres, you see.]


Four other Oersteds followed them,

And yet another four,

And thick and fast they came at last,

A mole, a mole and more;

All hopping through the frothy waves,

All scrambling to the shore.


The Coulomb and the Ohm-metre

Walked on a mile or so

Although they used kilometres:

“What is a mile?” Who knows?

And all the moles of Oersteds stood

And waited in a row.


“The time has come,” the Coulomb said,

“To talk of many things.

Of Grays – and Volts – and Sieverts,

Of Newtons, and their kings,

And why the Kelvin’s boiling hot,

And whether Moles have wings.”


“But wait a bit,” the Oersteds cried,

“Before we have our chat!

For some of us are out of charge,

And all of us are fat!”

“No hurry!” said the Ohm-metre.

They thanked him much for that.


“It was so kind of you to come!

And you are very nice!”

The Ohm-metre said nothing but

“Cut us another slice:

I wish you were not quite so deaf –

I’ve had to ask you twice!”


“O Oersteds,” said the Ohm-metre,

“You’ve had a pleasant run!

Shall we be trotting home again?”

But answer came there none.

And this was scarcely odd, because

They’d eaten every one.

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