Welcome to Eureka Street

back to site


How do you measure a human?

  • 11 May 2021
Worth How do you measure a human?

Can you determine their worth

by vivisecting the actions

of a potentate or a serf?

Do we judge by what they’re consuming?

Are we truly labelled from birth?

Are we assessed by our factions?

The absence or presence of mirth?

Can you evaluate women?

Can you quantify men?

Transitions juggle revisions;

who wins, the cock or the hen?

Sum up identities, genders,

status, wealth or smarts?

Do we get a gold star for STEM bends,

or for our soft spot for the arts?

Do we stand out for ethics,

or being ideologically pure?

Is there rubber stamping for sex kicks

or devotion to causes de jour?

Is it aptitude or refinement

the path we climb to acclaim?

Or will networking and vox pop alignment

lead to a vignette of fame?

What price is peer adulation;

recognition of hard work put in?

How much for adoration,

to be heard above noisome din?

Is popular a rebuttal

of some intransigent state;

or should we regale hordes as pariah

to an other’s shortfalls berate?

Do we applaud displays of valour?

Do we pay homage to stilled heads?

Is a monk, mendicant or a scholar

of more value than hoppers-of-beds?

Is a bully more noble than cowards?

Are doers more regal than zen?

Do pragmatics pip romantic blowhards?

Do they cherish kith more than kin?

How do you weigh up a consort,

a naval prince knighted and praised?

Do you look at the good works and stuff bought?

Do you look past the children he raised?

Do you take every action as gospel,

every bigoted comment as meant,

or put him down as time-damned; spelt

out by his traumas. Soul spent?

If they bow down before a Deity

or stand alone straight, sans belief,

does another’s worldview’s strength or frailty

give others compassion or grief?

If they had an abundance of power

yet were crippled by zero control,

would subverted ambition sneer, glower,

at all parts suborned by the whole?

In the end we are all decompositions.

Reductions to matter redux.

Our light, our real contributions

are remembered in spite of the flux:

flowing through surface or substance

we don’t self-assess our own worth.

We fall over through life’s replete tests

and leave only memories on Earth.

Barry Gittins is a Melbourne writer. Main image: Measuring tape (Diana Polekhina/Unsplash)