In one of the most common forms of synesthesia, individual letters of the alphabet and numbers (collectively referred to as "graphemes") are "shaded" or "tinged" with a colour ~

Since I was a child, I have experienced synaesthesia (crossed senses). Letters, words, names, people and places ring with colour, shapes, textures and taste. Many of my poems and stories reflect this phenomena.


Nought’s transparent howl lingers

as the kids one to five play

with fire, crayons and cymbals

Boy-blue and his jaded sister are

constantly at sixes and sevens;

while the righteous brother

carves precise figures in ice

— knowing he will be ate before

nine exudes her yellow-golden fecundity

Ringing metallic blue at noon

shimmering against a forever azure sky

even-tempered, balanced on a circle’s curl

six is boyish, positive and gentle

divides fairly

multiplies readily — and with logic

Green and mean — in her prime

Lady Luck to some

— a deadly sin to others —

odd, straight and narrow

seven, the older sister, points at six

yet leans

towards eight, the perfect brother,

so symmetrical with his sienna sheen

In an eternal line stretching

from the Hindu-Arabic sands

to a digital diorama,

or reversed

on an infinite circle of time,

nought to ten are together bound by concept

— dislocated, reconfigured, calculated

their numerous kin define

and redefine reality’s abstract nature

Although not a product of the imagination, synaesthesia does give testimony to a product of the brain and an appreciation for where poetic imagination may arise in our minds. Synaesthesia is far from being an ‘intellectual act’, although it can certainly be the stuff from which creative dreams are made. An appreciation of the synaesthete’s world, particularly those who make their synaesthetic visions public, can help explain the eureka sensation of insight or the exhilaration of being seized by the creative muse. For a handful of artists, synaesthesia is the creative fuel for creative transformation. Artists have always claimed a more direct perception of the world, a directness that is characterised, for one, by the synaesthetic percept ~ Richard E. Cytowic


Drought bleached word

tasting of an earthen hue

echoing emptiness

mouth the word

hear a moan a lament

a plea

the parched letters evoke dry dust

mimic the howling wind

perhaps ‘t’ offers a slight hope of moisture

ochre’s translucent summer craves water

rivers thirst while oranges wither

sprinklers are hushed forbidden

a lorikeet perches briefly

on the decimated cactus

before shrieking its discontent

crisp leaves dance

whirl to the dry wind

the rain-gods are tempted


even the word looks unfamiliar

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