Here’s to the synaesthetes, those angels
who express what we so long suspected:
that cello music is a velvety blue or purple
and that the flute trills the cleanest yellow.
I want to say that one is heavy and the other light.
The cello has you nesting your bones
amongst the roots of trees;
the flute delights in making you fly.
Now, I’m not a synaesthete, although the doctors
say almost everyone is, but that most learn to sublimate it
because it is devastating when the word ‘white’ tastes
like marmite and you are eating ice cream.
Well, I’m not sure what words taste of
but stars taste of metal (don’t you think?)
and mountain air tastes like stars
and the green of new grass tastes
like blowing raspberries on the belly of a child.
Not that I’m a synaesthete, but the doctors say
almost everyone is and they reckon words came
like this: a synaesthetic expression of the facts of life.
And I want to say the word ‘fish’ and see it swimming off
with its scaly body and a watery flick of its tail.
And I want to say ‘axe’ and hear it cleave the wood.
And I want to say ‘sky’ and fly up there so light and blue.
Not that I have synaesthesia of course, though the doctors say
almost everyone has and they also say that synaesthetes
are not nuts after all, since it’s obvious peanuts taste yellow,
cashew nuts green and brazil nuts a purple-brown,
and what do doctors taste of anyway if not pine needles?
Posted for Sally from Art and Soul Space in response to her blog post about hearing a storm from looking at the colours of an abstract painting.