The Leap Second

Time is reality –

A reality that we have broken down

And subjugated by splitting it into fractions

That match the constructs

Of our lives and actions.

Thinking that we can constrain

Its ceaseless movement by

Deciding to refrain

From measuring it in solar days or atomic units.


The people in charge have told us what they mean:

There will be an extra second

In two thousand and sixteen,­­

So that

Coordinated Universal


Mean                    Solar


Will once more align.

As the irregularities of our spinning

Clod of clay have caused it

Once again to move

Out of


So that just before our glasses clink and

The clock strikes


On New Year’s Eve it will show


Giving all of us

An extra second

To get back to our coaches

Before they turn to pumpkins.

An extra second

In which our dreams

Remain dreams and

An extra second

In which we can

Forget about the nightmares of the preceding

31 million, 536 thousand units

Of measurement.


But time does not care.

Time marches on and on

Until seconds have become lifetimes.

The units of measurement do not matter –

It’s what you fill them with that counts,

Things which can never be measured

And yet which you will forever­­

Be measured against.


Screen grab of the UTC clock from during the leap second on June 30, 2015 (Photo Credit: Public Domain).


A poem for the New Year, inspired by the extra second that we all get at the end of 2016, to synchronize all the clocks worldwide. Let’s all make it count!


An audio version of the poem can be heard here.

4 thoughts on “The Leap Second”



    Time is reality
    Yet vague in its passing
    Vague and real, a bizzare duality
    She is here, she is a has-been
    Tick and tock,hear the talking clock
    Her hands dance about in a regular fashion
    She is up and down like a swinging stock
    She dances with a regular passion
    She speaks in seasons and ages
    She talks of newborns and greymen
    She is the ballerina with our lives as stages
    And When we re worn from all her talent
    We Rest In the mockery of our past
    Or in its hallowed praises….


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