Asphodel Meadows

Asphodel Meadows - inspired by Asphodel, That Greeny FlowerDespite spending my time in a sun-filled meadow, many believe that I grow in the depths of hell. Such a place, named the asphodel meadows, where ordinary souls are sent to live after death, is not where I truly exist. Some might say I live on the contrary. I exist in a space where life begins. I watch plants gain life; they evolve from a tiny seed into a spectacle that brings visitors from around the world.

It is here where I occasionally see a young boy come to visit; he is always alone and carries a book too big for his tiny hands. He wanders around the field of flowers as if it were his very own garden, picking up the flowers that catch his eye, or should I say his nose, for he is drawn to the scents that my neighbouring flowers produce. It is not difficult to understand why when you smell their sweet, honeysuckle scent. A smell so sweet the bees cannot help but to stop and gather the nectar in which they produce.

I spend my time watching him pick up each flower so carefully and lovingly place them in his book. I never know where he comes from or where he wanders off to at the end of the day, but I like to imagine he goes to a home filled with blossoming flowers and parents that love and care for him as much as he does for the plants he selects. Another question that I often ponder while watching the young boy wander around the flower field, with no friends in sight, is what he does with the flowers he selects. Unknowingly, I would later come to find out the answer to this question for myself.

Although I am odourless, I watched the boy slowly approach me. Something about my branching stem and my colourless petals with only a wash of crimson had piqued his interest. At that moment, I felt special, for he had always chosen the other flowers over me. However, something was different this day. He carefully picked me up from the dirt and just as gently placed me in between the delicate white pages of his weathered book, and just like that, my destiny was sealed. I was thankful that he chose me on this day as I was coming to the end of my life. I only had a couple of days longer before I would wither back into the ground.


Just as I began to think that I would never see daylight again, the book I was pressed in opened. I am not sure how long I was stowed away for, but when I saw who opened the book, I knew that it had been years. I looked at the man who was staring back at me and who looked so familiar. It was then I realised that he was the young boy that picked me from my field in New Jersey. He had the same caring eyes as before, but the rest of his appearance had grown old. The man placed me on the table next to some paper and a pen, and I watched him begin to write. While he was occupied with his work, I looked around the room and noticed the walls filled with dusty bookshelves and pictures of plants. One picture, in particular, caught my eye; it was a small drawing of an asphodel with a city skyline in the foreground. It reminded me of home and the buildings of New York that I spent my life looking at. The man wrote for a while, occasionally looking over at me with a smile. After some time, he sat back in his chair and said his name aloud, “William Carlos Williams.”

“We lived long together, a life filled, if you will, with flowers. So that I was cheered, when I came first to know, that there were flowers also in hell. Today I’m filled with the fading memory of those flowers that we both loved, even to this poor colorless thing.”

William Carlos Williams (1986 [1955]), “Asphodel, That Greeny Flower” in The Collected Poems of William Carlos Williams

Asphodelus albusAsphodelus albus

Family: Asphodelaceae.
Commonly known as: Asphodel.
Native to: Southern Europe, Northern Africa, and the Middle East.
Main properties: The root is poisonous since it contains the alkaloid asphodeline. It has been used in the treatment of skin conditions and as a cough remedy.
Appears in: “Asphodel, That Greeny Flower” in The Collected Poems of William Carlos Williams (1986 [1955]) by William Carlos Williams.

Chloé BroadleyChloé Broadley

Studies: Spanish and Latin American Studies.
Commonly known as: Chloé.
Birthplace: Stirling, Scotland.
Interested in: Learning about the history of each plant and its various uses.
Favourite plant: Marigold, as it is one of the official flowers of my birth month. Also, the marigold is the colour of sunshine, and they bloom in summer, which is my favourite season.