synaesthesia: three love stories

BLOG synaesthesia: three love stories

Emma Digh feeds Matthew an apple
emma feeds matthew an apple


i am walking down wellington street
in a hurry, late for an appointment,
checking my blackberry

there is a couple walking ahead of me, hand in hand:
they say nothing, and their hands jitter,
parting and recombining nervously,
as if one or both is afflicted

i move to pass them, and then something stops me:
they both laugh suddenly, for no apparent reason,
and she rests her head briefly on his shoulder, affectionately

a moment later, she pulls away, and punches him in the shoulder
he shakes his head, no, but he is smiling, playful

they have not spoken a word, and i am looking around for a ‘candid camera’:
am i supposed to believe this couple are telepathic?

and then suddenly she turns, and in her blank gaze i realize:
she is blind, and he is deaf, and with their quivering hands
they are quietly, brilliantly,
making love


we are walking through a forest in the town i’m visiting
when we come upon an old couple walking two dogs

one dog is small, animated, running circles around everyone
and for a moment it’s the only one i notice

and then the larger slower one comes into view
and i realize, to my astonishment
that s/he is identical to my beloved, much-mourned chelsea —
the same markings, coat, laboured walk, and gentle smile

i gasp, my eyes well with tears, and i’m overwhelmed,
on my knees, stroking this so-familiar creature
and telling the old couple about my love and my loss

and as they pass to continue on their walk,
the woman, who neither of us knows, who doesn’t know us,
turns to me and says
“you’re welcome to borrow her if you’d like,
just drop by any time”.


it starts in the office:
a group of us are discussing finances;
it’s a difficult conversation, and some of the group
are defensive, edgy

and i’m listening but not really paying attention visually
and then strangely it’s as if the words i am hearing
are coming apart, fragmenting,
curving around my consciousness,
expressing themselves in different colours

and i’m noticing the breath, the pauses,
the catch in the throat
and i’m hearing fear, and despair
that is coming from deep inside these people i hardly know
and speaking to me, not in words or tone of voice
but in tiny nuances of inflection, silence, breath, emphasis

i am feeling the sound of their voice
and the anguish in their bones
and i briefly catch the eye of one of the speakers
and he looks back at me as if he were naked,
as if i’d caught him crying —

and later, talking on the phone,
these swirling, coloured words begin again,
like another language, an undercurrent
at a wavelength i’ve never heard or sensed or realized before,
talking not of the subject at hand
but of loss, and loneliness,
and love

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8 Responses to synaesthesia: three love stories

  1. judith says:

    so you’re not surprisedi’ve seen colors all my lifein iambic form …beautiful, david, just beautiful …

  2. David Parkinson says:


  3. What a beautiful way to start my day! Thank you for your gorgeous translation of the love surrounding us in all the tiny moments, if only we are open to seeing them. Just lovely!

  4. Dave Pollard says:

    Thank you — I never get tired of hearing such kind and wonderful comments.

  5. I’m sobbing with recognition and honor of your path. In case you haven’t seen it, please visit Jena Strong’s re-post from Monday… Thank you for the heart-opening this morning, Dave.

  6. Doug Hayman says:

    Hey Dave,I just checked in after a long time to find this beautiful poem of moments and feeling. Love your work Dave. Touch base when you’re back on the coast.Cheers, Doug

  7. Amanda says:

    My favorite is is the first one, hands down. It reminds me “Morning Bath,” by Degas. painters started painting the way that they did because they were living in the cusp of a burgeoning society. They used their quick brush strokes and stippling methods in order to capture fluid, temporal moments in time. Whenever I look at Impressionist paintings, I’m always reminded of memories. No specific memories of my own, but memories in general and how one recalls them. And that’s what Degas painted in “Morning Bath.” But he acted in the now and painted in the moment. Before he lost the image–the memory–of the unknown woman preparing to take a bath.

  8. Amanda says:

    Also:Richard Aschroft”Break the Night with Colors”

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