Seeing the Sound of a Storm

Do you ever see sounds?

Sound of a Storm Sally Swain © original art excerpt

Sound of a Storm
Sally Swain © original art

Sunday morning. 

Time to meditate.

Wild wild wind and squally rain.

Listen listen.

Am I scared?

Should I be?

My walls are strong.

My chimney’s smoking.

(a smidgin of singer-songwriter Paul Kelly’s ‘Gathering Storm’)


My sweet rented workspace has sprung a leak.

Brain says: Worry worry worry.

But I’ve done what I can to report it, put out towels and buckets, move away valuable items.

Worry-brain settles.


What about getting on the roads? Dangerous.

Brain says: Worry worry worry.

But there’s nowhere I absolutely have to go today. Lucky.

Worry-brain settles.


And hey – I’m cosy and dry, safe and warm. My back is supported by the perfect pillow. Plump, soft and firm.

I am doing a listening meditation.


Listen listen. Listen with the heart of my ears. Or is it the ears of my heart?

Just be aware. Do not fixate, clutch, avoid, run screaming.

Simply scan the soundspace, noticing what I notice – near and far.


Then the moment arrives. A precious moment.

I see the sounds.


I see dark dense thick cloud sounds.

Scratchy scrapey wind whipping sounds.

High pitched splatter-sprinkle sounds.

Broad sweeping brushstroke of the big wide sky sounds.

Sound of a Storm Sally Swain © original art excerpt

Sound of a Storm
Sally Swain © original art

I see an abstract painting – patches of grey-blues, purple-blacks and whites.

The sound of the storm.

This has never happened before, where I directly see each sound having its own colour and texture.

I am proudly nourished by my own creative perceptions.

Perhaps this is what it’s like for a synaesthete.

(Wiki’s description of synaesthesia)

Bring on the painting.

Sound of a Storm Sally Swain © original art

Sound of a Storm
Sally Swain © original art

In this painting there are

scraps of calico with deliberately frayed edges,

bundles of thread from the frayings,

fragments of pre-painted sheet music,

paper towels with pre-dabbed unwanted paint,

some watered down acrylic paint,

some thicker acrylic paint,

scratch marks made by a wooden skewer.

I present to you…the sound of a storm…
possibly finished

or possibly to be reworked, replayed and rejigged into the future.

The last verse of Paul Kelly’s song:

I rise up and turn on the light

Now it’s shining in my window.

My walls are strong.

My chimney’s smoking.

God speed you

In the gathering storm.

PS The wonderful Belinda Broughton has shared her Synaesthesia poem in response to this blog post.
I truly ruly extra specially recommend reading it.
Here’s the link:



5 thoughts on “Seeing the Sound of a Storm

  1. How interesting. I wrote a poem about synaesthesia. Interesting process. I had to imagine what a word looked like etc. will post later. I really like the painting. Also your writing about it. Do you ever write as if from within it, without explanations, using what you see as metaphors? Eg ‘frayed calico clouds’

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow, Belinda. I would love to read your poem. I see you are very alive to both words and images….and their interplay.
      Only several days ago in a powerful Creativity Retreat, I found myself writing a dialogue with an image I’d created. I often encourage Creativity Coaching or Art Therapy clients to do this. A rewarding, valuable process.
      You learn so much more from going to the source.


      • I just posted the poem, Sally.
        Yes, I find it extraordinarily useful to engage in that sort of waking dream state of ‘imagination’ with artwork and other things. I have a character called the inner wise woman who I often write with. It is amazing what we have access to if we allow. Of course, I’m completely nuts. Thank goodness.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Synaesthesia | Belinda Broughton

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