The humble Lily of the Valley — el humilde Lirio del Valle

Hi folks! I hope you are keeping well…

¡Hola amigos! Espero que estéis bien…

In my last blog I wrote about one of my favourite flowers that I have been able to enjoy during my stay here in London — the beautiful and delicate forget-me-not. However, there is also another one of my favourites that is just beginning to unfurl its tiny head from amongst its enveloping green leaves — and that is the lily-of-the-valley.

En mi último blog escribí sobre una de mis flores favoritas, que he podido disfrutar durante mi estancia aquí en Londres — el hermoso y delicado nomeolvides. Sin embargo, también hay otro de mis favoritos que está empezando a asomar su pequeña cabeza entre sus envolventes hojas verdes, y ese es el lirio del valle.

Below are a couple of photos that I took (using my Samsung again, so please be patient with my photography!).

A continuación hay un par de fotos que tomé (usando mi Samsung de nuevo, así que ¡por favor sea paciente con mi fotografía!).

And here is a lovely poem about the lily of the valley. It was written by the sisters, Jane and Ann Taylor. (The former Taylor also wrote ‘Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star…’).

Y aquí hay un bonito poema sobre el lirio del valle. Fue escrito por las hermanas, Jane y Ann Taylor. (Ann escribió también ¿Estrellita Dónde Estás?)

THE LILY OF THE VALLEY

Come, my love, and do not spurn

From a little flower to learn.

See the lily on the bed

Hanging down its modest head;

While it scarcely can be seen,

Folded in its leaf of green.

Yet we love the lily well

For its sweet and pleasant smell

And would rather call it ours,

Than full many gayer flowers.

Pretty lilies seem to be

Emblems of humility.

Come my love, and do not spurn

From a little flower to learn.

Let your temper be as sweet

As the lily at your feet;

Be as gentle, be as mild,

Be a modest, simple child.

EL LIRIO DEL VALLE

Ven, mi amor, y no te desprecies

De una pequeña flor, para aprender.

Mira el lirio en el arriate,

Inclinando su modesta cabeza;

Aunque apenas se la puede ver,

Doblado en su hoja de verde…

Sin embargo, nos encanta el lirio bien

Por su olor dulce y agradable

Y preferiría llamarlo nuestro,

Que por completo muchas flores más alegres.

Los lirios bonitos parecen ser

Emblemas de la humildad.

Ven mi amor, y no te desprecies

De una pequeña flor para aprender.

Deja que tu temperamento sea tan dulce

Como el lirio a tus pies;

Sé tan gentil, sé tan suave,

Sé un niño modesto y sencillo.

(Bueno, no es exactamente lo mismo en español porque no tiene la misma rima…)

The two sisters, Jane (23 September 1783 London) – 13 April 1824) and Ann Taylor

Sadly, Jane Taylor died on 13 April 1824 of breast cancer at the age of 40 — her mind was still «teeming with unfulfilled projects».

Arriba, las dos hermanas, Jane y Ann Taylor. Desgraciadamente, Jane murió el 13 de abril de 1824 de cáncer de mama a la edad de 40 años — su mente todavía estaba «llena de proyectos no cumplidos».

Although the lily of the valley is a tiny little flower there is a lot to learn from it. The poem showcases humility and teaches us that we should learn to be humble like a lily. The head of the flower hangs modestly and is covered by the surrounding green, not much is seen. It is loved by all.

Aunque el lirio del valle es una pequeña flor, hay mucho que aprender de él. El poema muestra humildad y nos enseña que debemos aprender a ser humildes como un lirio. La cabeza de la flor cuelga modestamente y está cubierta por el verde circundante, no se ve mucho. Es amado por todos.

This picture is taken from Flower Fairies book, written and illustrated by Cicely Mary Barker. (See my last blog for her brief bio.)

Esta foto está tomada del libro Las Hadas de las Flores, escrito e ilustrado por Cicely Mary Barker. (Ver mi último blog para su breve biografía.)

The lily of the valley is the flower for those born in May.

El lirio del valle es la flor para los nacidos en mayo.

The fragrant white flowers are often associated with traditional feminine values such as motherhood, purity, chastity and sweetness.

Las fragantes flores blancas se asocian a menudo con los valores femeninos tradicionales como la maternidad, la pureza, la castidad y la dulzura.

The lily of the valley is also seen as a symbol of humility and a sign of Christ’s second coming.

El lirio del valle simboliza humildad y también la segunda venida de Cristo.

Well, that’s all for now.

Thank you for visiting — comments are always welcome.

Take care and bye for now xxx

Pues… eso es todo por ahora.

Gracias por visitar – vuestros comentarios son siempre bienvenidos.

Cuidaros y hasta pronto xxx

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!)