Asphodel is an Unlovely Plant, Grey Weeds

The trench was the first colour on that plain in a hundred years, the first steaming breath of life to break the endless silence with its insistent “I am.” They came so old and forgetful that they had no faces, nor hands, but shape only. Men were there, edges bright in their hands, and they held back, uncertain and afraid.

“We seek,” said the leader, red-handed, “after our lost elders. The two-sexed seer, the blinded man of Thebes, let him come and drink first.”

Something came through them, more solid for being called, and stood on the blooded marge. “Drink, then,” said the man.


Another stirring. One spoke: “Hear me, men of Hellas. In life I was of your number, and a feeble, fickle hero, no brave deeds done before the foemen, but deserved of a better death than I found, lost in drink, high upon the goddess’s pitchy roof. Hear me…”

“We hear,” said the man. “Who are you?”

One said: “Hear me, men of Hellas. In life I was one…”

Tiresias spoke, said, “Elpenor,” and the men drew back sorrowfully.

“Come, then, kinsman,” said the man, “drink then. Find in this spill your shape and your face and your sorrow.”