Through barter, groat, and silver, bit,
to thrupenny, wren farthing tale,
by florin, tanners, leather pouch,
’twas Rex, Regina, crown vouchsafed.
As banker’s draft, those tooth marks proved
a promissory worthy vote
against debased, the counterfeit,
however worn the Latin phrase.
Observe the obverse, trident shield -
a weapon phase of future screened -
Britannia ruled as nation state,
all be it graved on copper plate.
A ha’porth chips, shove ha’penny
were daily fun on bike shed bench,
till bell was rung, our homework done,
sound twelve and twenty units, pound.
At length we covered furlongs, yards,
and matched our cricket bound by chains,
while ounces counted different pounds,
the land of oz and lsd.
Where pints and quarts or gallons flowed -
we’ll leave gills, troy, avoirdupois -
there stones, not pebbles, weighed our minds,
though coal delivered, cwt.
ingredients, soon petrol changed,
and we were driven, science lab,
all things converted, catch you out.
I still know weather, Fahrenheit,
and wish the postage penny black;
phalanges were my finger count,
the digits of my shilling lunch.
With Penny Dreadfuls on the shelf,
numismatists still have to sort
the stand out titles, crisper mints,
those symbols, signs of rarer years.