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Poem: "Gezelligheid" - The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
ysabetwordsmith
ysabetwordsmith
Poem: "Gezelligheid"

This poem came out of the September 2013 crowdfunding Creative Jam.  It was inspired by a prompt from Dreamwidth user Perfectworry.  It also fills the "messenger" square in my 8-13-13 card for the Origfic Bingo fest.  It has been sponsored by laffingkat.


Gezelligheid


Lievin has seen much of the world --
he is Dutch and a sailor --
but it is Hart's Farm where
his soul finds its harbor.

The houses are gezellig,
cozy and inviting,
with their colorful walls
and skillfully carved woodwork,
windows aglow with golden light,
so warm in the cold Swedish winters.

The furnishings are gezellig,
pretty and charming,
each with its own character
and yet all of a kind
as the crafters ply their skills
with varying degrees of finesse,
something of a shared family style
emerging from the joyful diversity.

The people are gezellig,
pleasant and welcoming,
easy to get along with
because they accept each other
for who they are -- and Lievin too,
whenever the wind brings him this way,
someone always happy to see him arrive.

The parties are gezellig,
fun and entertaining,
always rich in news and song,
games and laughter,
lasting long into the night
until people wind up piled together
with or without clothing according to taste --
and nobody minds that he prefers to lie with friends
instead of a permanent partner.

A visit here is gezellig,
full of togetherness and belonging,
part of a family whose traditions
stretch back into the past
and on into the future,
woven together as surely
as the threads of a vast tapestry.

The whole farm has gezelligheid,
something steeped into the soil
and the smooth planks of the buildings,
whispered in the voices of the people living there.

Lievin is a messenger and a fisherman;
he brings them letters and supplies,
takes on what they trade him in return.
He is free to come and go with the tides,
carrying word and cargo to and fro.

Something in him needs this,
needs both the leaving and the returning,
for he loves equally the large farm
and the world-wrapping ocean,
his family of choice and his salty crew.

Lievin, too, has gezelligheid,
a convivial atmosphere of appreciation
for time spent with friends and family,
the joy of seeing a loved one after a long absence:
and it is this which forms the fire
that shines in the center of him,
not kindled by a single love
but blazing with flames uncounted.

* * *

Notes:

Gezelligheid  is a Dutch word with a cluster of meanings around what English might render as "charm" or "coziness."

Lievin is aromantic bisexual.  That is bi, not pan: he likes both men and women but isn't much interested outside the binary.  Lievin enjoys sex with friends, but has no interest in romantic gestures or a permanent partnership.  He prefers to think of sex as a pleasant physical activity rather than a bonding method.

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9 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
laffingkat From: laffingkat Date: December 17th, 2013 09:03 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ah, now this perfectly captures the best of the holidays for me! Such lovely imagery--the poem conveys the sense of gezelligheid very well. I kind of want to wrap it around myself and snuggle in it like a blanket, and also share it with everyone around me. Everyone should have a place where they know they're always welcome and they'll be accepted like that.
From: technoshaman Date: December 17th, 2013 09:23 pm (UTC) (Link)
Amen.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: December 17th, 2013 10:07 pm (UTC) (Link)

Thank you!

>> Ah, now this perfectly captures the best of the holidays for me! Such lovely imagery--the poem conveys the sense of gezelligheid very well. <<

I'm glad it worked so well for you.

>> I kind of want to wrap it around myself and snuggle in it like a blanket, and also share it with everyone around me. <<

Now that it's been sponsored, it's available for everyone to enjoy. You can share it around if you wish.

>> Everyone should have a place where they know they're always welcome and they'll be accepted like that. <<

So mote it be.
natf From: natf Date: December 18th, 2013 02:22 pm (UTC) (Link)
Agreed.
thnidu From: thnidu Date: December 18th, 2013 05:46 am (UTC) (Link)
Very heimish, to use a Yiddish word that means something different but not unakin. I like this. It feels warm.

Google Translate says
gezelligheid-noun
cosiness: gezelligheid
conviviality: gezelligheid, feestelijkheid
sociability: gezelligheid
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: December 26th, 2013 05:55 am (UTC) (Link)

Thank you!

I'm glad you enjoyed this so much.
helgatwb From: helgatwb Date: April 10th, 2014 05:58 am (UTC) (Link)
I think this mirrors Saudades very well. I know that it's two completely different universes, but I couldn't help compare and contrast.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: April 10th, 2014 06:00 am (UTC) (Link)

Thank you!

I'm glad you liked this.

Yes, the underlying structure is the same. I often do this with foreign words that don't translate precisely into English, where I lay out a bunch of different points to map the boundaries. There are several poems in Hart's Farm that were inspired by local vocabulary.
cflute From: cflute Date: December 9th, 2016 10:42 pm (UTC) (Link)
This may be my very favorite poem in the series, so far. It evokes very fond memories of our recent sojourn to Burnaby, BC, to spend the last weekend of November with friends there. I'm planning to send them a link to the poem, along with a note about why; I think they'll appreciate both.

Namaste'
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