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How to measure space-time on summer holidays, by Britta Benson

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This tanka is my response to the tanka Tuesday poetry challenge on Wordcraft Poetry. Here’s the full link:

How to measure space-time on summer holidays

We drive 500 miles to get from the heart of Scotland to Dover. We take a ferry and then, we drive another 500 miles. Our journey starts in robust denims, long sleeves and jumpers, just to be safe. By the time we hit the south of England, my cardigan, stubborn remnant of winter, has long gone into the boot and even the sea breeze on the Channel cannot stop our the sleeves of our tops from curling up, bit by bit, in a slow, premeditated reveal, suspense and all. The moment we reach France, our cheeks glow rosy, then ruby red, and the mercury keeps rising as we belt through Belgium. Into Germany we thunder. Hotter still. We sit in not much more than flimsy lycra swimming gear, sweltering, boil in the bag humans, roasted inside our tiny car like a novelty Sunday lunch. Our skin turns from almost blue and translucent, the trademark Scottish palest of pale, to a nice, healthy pink, and then, in a seamless manner, keeps going towards the more alarming shades of red. Not so much a rainbow of coloursโ€ฆ This is the colour scheme of blood, crimson and cinnabar, no hue spared. Perhaps we should have stopped our trip somewhere near Birmingham, before the burn, but we feel unstoppable. Our holiday, a once in a life time journey to the centre of the universe. Bring on the heat!

Our front door snaps shut.

We, milky, iridescent,

drive towards summer.

Time, measured in fifty shades

of blush, cherry and garnet.


25 thoughts on “How to measure space-time on summer holidays, by Britta Benson

    1. I am covered in factor 50 sun block. Wouldn’t venture out without it here. Especially in the first week. My skin isn’t used to ‘actual’ sun rays. I do get temporarily red, full on lobster, due to the heat. Again, I’m so not used to temperatures in the proper summer range. It’s July, I’m in Germany, and for the first time this year, I’m not wearing a woolly cardigan…

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much, willowdot21, for your lovely comment. I’m enjoying the warmth here in Germany. Makes quite a change to my usual Scottish temperatures… For the first time this year, I’m not snuggled up in a cardigan. Feels quite nice!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Harmony. Three days into my summer holidays, I’m getting a little more used to the hot temperatures and I fight the feeling of being a ‘boil in a bag human’ with copious amounts of ice cream. Thanks for reading and commenting! Much appreciated.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Great poem, Britta! I was blessed with olive skin that almost never burns. I spend long days on beaches (wearing SPF 50 or 70, mostly for the protective benefits from harmful rays). The locals can always identify the tourists because they are sporting lobster red on their skin. The inexperienced forget how powerful the sun can be. I’m happy you protect your skin. I’m even happier that you are on what sounds like an amazing adventure. Enjoy! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for reading and commenting, Yvette. I really need the factor 50 sunscreen! I’m slowly getting used to summer, my skin has changed from milky blue to simply pale in the past four days. I’m almost looking like a healthy vampire. Yay! I’m on my way…

      Liked by 1 person

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