The first carnation in my Malenan (Cordobese) country garden — its symbolism, and Pablo Neruda (alias Ricardo Eliécer Neftalí Reyes Basoalto)

Hi folks! I hope you’re all keeping well.

I just wanted to share a couple of photos with you of the first carnation that has flowered in my garden, here in the countryside of Posadas (in the province of Córdoba — Andalusia).

So here they are (simple, as photography is not really my thing. I used my Samsung whatever- the-model-is mobile).

Love…
…admiration
…and rejection. Oh dear!!!

The flower also reminded me of Pablo Neruda’s pretty poem, I do not love you:

Pablo Neruda (1904-1973)

XVII I Do Not Love You

I do not love you as if you were salt-rose, or topaz,
or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off.
I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,
in secret, between the shadow and the soul.


I love you as the plant that never blooms
but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers;
thanks to your love a certain solid fragrance,
risen from the earth, lives darkly in my body.


I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.
I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;
so I love you because I know no other way

than this: where I does not exist, nor you,
so close that your hand on my chest is my hand,
so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep.

Pablo Neruda was his pen name; true name was Ricardo Eliécer Neftalí Reyes Basoalto. A Chilean poet-diplomat and politician and former senator of the Republic of Chile who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1971. In short, a colourful character (and no, I’m not a communist, in case you’re thinking — but yes, perhaps his demise from prostate cancer or possible poisoning under Pinochet’s orders seems questionable…hmmmm…)

For more details on Pablo’s biography see Wiki: for more details about his writings see the Poetry Foundation.

As for the etymology of the word, the scientific name for carnation is dianthus and can be split into two words which reveal it meaning: dios meaning God, and Anthos meaning flower, making them the flowers of the gods. These flowers generally represent:

  • Love
  • Fascination
  • Distinction

As for the symbolism, there are some interesting ideas, though I will only mention a couple here:

Ancient Roman Legend: According to legend, the carnation flower appeared after the Crucifixion of Christ. When mother Mary wept at the death of her son, her tears fell to the earth. Carnations sprang forth from each spot where Mary’s tears stained the earth. This legend lends credence to the theory that the carnation earned its name from incarnation.

Victorian: During Victorian times, flowers often sent a secret, coded message to a suitor or secret admirer. Sometimes, they also answered a secret question. A solid-coloured carnation meant the answer was “yes”. A striped carnation signified “I’m sorry, but I can’t be with you.” A yellow carnation symbolized “No”.

Other meanings according to colours are:

  • Red: Deep Love and Admiration
  • White: Pure Love and Good Luck
  • Pink: A Mother’s Love
  • Yellow: Disappointment or Rejection
  • Purple: Capriciousness
  • Striped: Rejection or Regret

So, in other words, my yellow and red striped carnation would mean Deep Love and Admiration with a bit of Disappointment or Rejection. Oh dear — does that sum up my love life, I wonder?

Anyway, I shan’t waffle on anymore, so at this point I shall say thanks for visiting and do take care! xxx

(As usual, your comments and/or questions are always welcome!)

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