Luke Reece (he / him) and Cassandra Myers (they / she) are artists and performers who use poetry and spoken word to tell stories. In the video below, Luke and Cassandra perform their spoken word poem “The Dirt’s Internet.” Through phrases like “trees talk to each other more than my family talks to me” and “I have a bird song for this kind of sadness, and no one is tweeting back,” they explore how nature, well-being and social media can be connected.
As you watch or listen to the video, you can reflect on the following questions:
- How does this poem make me feel?
- Where do I notice connections between relationships, mental health and the natural world?
- Think about a time when someone listened or supported me – how did that feel?
- In what ways do I connect with my community?
Video: The Dirt’s Internet
Contrary to popular belief,
If a tree falls in a forest,
The whole canopy leans in an ear
Did you know trees can talk?
Billions of living wires whispering
Are you okay Are you Okay Are you Okay
to run a root through the soil beneath you
reaching for a living “I’m here” “I’’m with you”
Because alone is a dirt that will bury us
Leaving us poking through the earth for sunlight
even with all our thumbs connected
can’t manage to speak about the elephant in the room
because its trunk is a tree we are living in
I have a bird song for this kind of sadness
and no one is tweeting back
Trees talk to each other more than my family talks to me
I don’t know how to tell my friends that I am wilting, a cowering fern
I have crown shyness, too much noise in the foliage of a schoolyard
Calling into the hollow hardwood
becomes scrolling with my lips to my thumb
a notification on silent,
I open the app with my eyes closed
Dad says, we don’t draw attention to the aphids burrowing through our family tree
We keep it closed in all the bark we have thickened, this brownness we armored
Sometimes I hear voices calling me to peel off a branch
Where are the voices telling us to hold on?
Where are the nutrients of someone singing us in from the rain?
We crave the grounding of an exhale,
the making of an easy breath,
for someone to sway in tandem with our silent plea
Ear to the ground I listen for them
Eyes tethered to the thought that tripped me
There is someone
someone who wants to whittle down the worry in your brain
rearrange the furniture,
pull up the floorboards,
shake out the rafters
rake the leaves and make some space
For you to be witnessed,
even just for a moment,
even just for a second to carve your initials into the bark, and say
I was here
and I was hurting
but it doesn’t have to be forever,
it can just be right now.
There are wires under this entire city,
a root system,
the dirt’s internet
Trees know when other trees are suffering,
all without sound,
all with a signal
A green ping,
a text saying,
“what’s on your mind?”
I am sending a signal saying
I need someone
I am sending it through the networks of me
Through my neurons
and my blood
and my roots
I am asking with all that I am – please tell me that I’m not alone
That it is okay to feel this way
That my brown skin means
if I stand in a forest
I’m accompanied by my ancestors,
They soil me to a solar system of belonging
Of being enough
All wanting me to tell my story, to stay, to grow
If a tree falls in a forest,
We are held by our networks
Even when we’re leaning off a bluff
Clinging to our roots
Falling trees aren’t gone,
They keep talking,
As long as there is someone to listen.
Find more resources to help guide your well-being journey
Everyone reacts to art and poetry in unique ways. If this video brings up strong emotions for you, Kids Help Phone’s e-mental health services are available 24/7 to support you. If you’d prefer to connect with other young people about how you’re feeling, you can check out the Peer-to-Peer Community at Kids Help Phone.
Kids Help Phone would like to thank Luke and Cassandra for sharing their powerful poem and video with young people across Canada!