Wander Your Past Moving towards the dream, are we?

A Mile In Their Roots

Carolina Melo

Plant Sensory Perception
In Poetry

“Author”: Garlic (Allium Sativum)

Gentle pull from down below
Whispers and hints subtly.

Ramified roots of direction,
I read the light weaving from above.

Attraction from both extremes
Tugs at my seams ever so lightly.

Veering movements over time
Gravity implied, gestures to me.

Intangible, untouchable to most,
Sense of place I’m lost without.

Tender delicate roots I’ll extend.
Invisible force I wait for your call.

Year-round perfect orientation
Feeling my location assured.

Photograph by Carolina Melo

“Author”: Tobacco (Nicotiana Tabacum)

Spectrum of the visual. Optical Array.
Lustrous summer days boost my foliage.

Intricate patterns of bright and dark.
With such hues of reds and blues, why care for pictures?

Gleaned information becomes in me
An ode to survival, a realized aspiration.

Harmonized beams of perception
Unbeknownst to most.

Through my tips you build my world,
Traveling illumination.

Photograph by Markus Distelrath

“Author”: Dodder (Cuscuta Pentagona)

Survival compels me, I put forth…
Beckoned. Specialized fragrance that courts.

Moored and bound to ne’er feed on light.
An obligate parasite I clutch firmly to life,

Entangled deep in others’ shoots
Looting stems and roots throughout.

Lost in doom without a host,
At scent’s mercy lies my search

Latching fiercely to this trail,
I hold on tight. I don’t let go.

Photograph by Eric Hunt

“Author”: Mimosa (Mimosa Pudica)

Touch-me-not they call me
Timid, bashful, shrinking.

Obliged by tact I react
Retract my leaves as stems descend.

U in Pudica,
Shy in Latin.

Constantly adjusting as I learn,
I decide how quickly to unfold.

How could you ever understand…
And so I hide, my reasons why.

Photograph by Nick Moore

“Author”: Monstera (Monstera Deliciosa)

Tricky timescale slipping away,
Slow to respond, as my cells grow.

Internal commitment that ticks and tocks,
Clock of biological movements.

Minutes to hours: Your hours to my days,
You could never beat my steady pace.

Elusive patterns of my intricate dance
Lost in time to the impatient soul.

Photograph by Kmkota


While most people are familiar with the five human senses, few know about the more complex sixth and seventh ones. The former, called the vestibular sense, is the perception of our body’s position and motion. In other words, it is our balance and coordination center. The latter, known as proprioception, refers to our internal awareness of every part of our body in space.

It hardly seems a coincidence that we are less familiar with these two senses that don’t have a straightforward corresponding bodily organ, unlike the other five. For instance: I have eyes that allow me to see, I have a nose that allows me to smell, I have ears that allow me to hear, etc. This lack of straightforward organ-equivalence is precisely the case for plants and all of their intricate senses, which might be somewhat responsible for why they seem so foreign. An element that further alienates us from them is the drastically different timescale in which they operate.

This work looks to achieve a new form of perspective-taking by presenting a series of poems “authored” by plants, as imagined by me. In my choice of senses, I’ve focused on three that we know well (sight, scent, and touch), one that we are largely unfamiliar with (proprioception, referred to in this project as gravity), and one that is an additional sense I propose that both humans and plants use to perceive and navigate through life (time).


Mauricio & Rubely Melo
Zachary Kashdan
Paul Nirenberg

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Carolina Melo is an artist and interdisciplinary designer based in New York. Her work focuses on finding innovative ways to address ecological and sustainability issues in the Anthropocene using art and technology.