Owen Elphick's

Owen Elphick’s “Natural Infection”

Tuesday evening, in coordination with E.O. Smith READS, Roots of Development had the honor of hosting Dr. Paul Farmer at E.O. Smith High School in Storrs, CT. High school junior Owen Elphick opened up the night for us by reading his poem. We wanted to share his powerful and inspiring message with all of our followers. Thanks Owen!


Natural Infection

By Owen Elphick


I’m here to tell you

about the disease

that’s infected mankind,

the sickness

sweeping across the globe,

so subtle

we hardly see it,

so powerful

we know not

how to fear it.


It’s left countless


in its wake,

paving its road through us

with countless more;

and a cure could be found

if only we sought one.


Because it takes over

your whole being,

this illness

of the soul,

creeping inside you like

an animal looking for shelter

and warmth

and food,

a hungry little parasite

that eats away at you,

until all that is left

is a shell

that does not comprehend

what it has become;


or else,

wrapping around us

like a blanket

that softens you,

smothers you,

lulls you

to sleep.


And in that sleep

we dream

that we are safe,

that we are special,

that we are all that matters,

and that the rest of the world

is the illusion

that means nothing.


If only in sleep,

we could wake each other

from our dreams;

for that is the trap

we have fallen into.


Where is the snow

to wake us from the poppies;

where is the kiss

to save us from the spinning wheel?


Whether we like it or not,

magic will not save the world

that suffers as we hide

in our dreams;

the only thing that can do that

is our decision

to wake

and to fight.


Because the Black Death,



and ebola

all have their day

and are gone;

but apathy is the natural infection

and it lives on and on

and on…


Now ask yourself one question:


Do you care?

Owen Elphick and Dr. Farmer speak at E.O. Smith High School on Tuesday, March 31st.