Hiraeth is a Welsh concept of longing for home, which can be loosely translated as ‘nostalgia’, or, more commonly, ‘homesickness’. Many Welsh people claim ‘hiraeth’ is a word which cannot be translated, meaning more than solely “missing something” or “missing home.”
Hiraeth – A Poem
I went home, but
you weren’t there
I called out your name, but
you couldn’t hear
doesn’t feel like a home
What’s a home, if
you go back
and find that you’re alone?
Here, I’ve lingered for years
still, this place is new to me
When I revisit, all I find…
an empty shell of what used to be
Roaming this earth like
some lost dog
But every home I go
I don’t belong
-Dexter Morgan, Dexter
Everyone wants an Argentina–a place where the slate is wiped clean. But the truth is, Argentina is just Argentina. No matter where we go, we take ourselves and our damage with us. So is home the place we run to, or is it the place we run from? Only to hideout in places where we’re accepted unconditionally? Places that feel more like home to us. Because we can finally be who we are…
Hiraeth… A beautiful word with an even more beautiful meaning. I stumbled upon it while I was soaring down the wormhole that is Google, searching for “unique” words I could use as song titles for some of my music. That was about a week ago and I haven’t been able to get the word out of my head since. Then again, how could I when this single word describes about 99.9% of my entire life?
Yearning for a home you can’t return to, or that never existed. I step back and everything suddenly becomes clear. It makes sense. Hiraeth. This word is like a light. A spotlight on my life. Maybe I’ve always known the problem, but having a name for it makes it so much clearer. Like a face emerging from the fog. All the otherness, the isolation, the hunger never satisfied… All the searching, the traveling, and the towering expectations that are always broken down by reality. The reality that nothing is as I picture it.
Does everybody experience this feeling at some point in their lives? Or continuously? When I take a step back from my little corner of the world and look at the world as a whole I feel an overwhelming feeling of I belong somewhere else. I find it difficult to believe that not everybody else encounters the same thought at least once.
Then again, I’m aware there are people who’ve actually found places in this world where they belong. I mean, it’s difficult for me to fathom, but I suppose it has to be true, right? To those on solid lands of comfort rather than quicksand, I envy you.
Now, where do I feel like I belong? Everywhere. Nowhere. Both at the same same time. But also, I feel like I belong in a place that isn’t of this world. A place this Earth cannot offer me, no matter where I search or how hard I beg. Maybe that’s because my heart aches for something so much greater. Or maybe that’s because the “home” I’m constantly envisioning has already come and gone. Its life has already been lived, and now, it lies in the past, always calling… But every time I go to answer the phone, there’s no one there.
Will I ever fill this twisting, empty hole and find an antidote to this sickness for a home? Eh… maybe, maybe not. It’s whatever, really. All I can do is search with hope.
And if you too are searching, then my advice is to take advantage of this feeling of hiraeth. Let it guide and pull you. Let your lustful heart wander. Hey. Maybe that’s where you belong after all…
Thanks for reading.