I'm having quite an attack of saudade today. See, I've always had this recurring... ache. It's a longing to return to someplace I've never been, kind of, a nostalgia for a time in which I never lived, a homesickness for a home I've never known. A while back, I wrote my first "landmark" post over on the Hatrack River Forums. In it, I talked about these feelings I've always had, and one of the replies gave me, finally, a word for what I feel: saudade.
It's pronounced, apparently, "'sou-da-jee'. The 'ou' like in 'ouch'." My research indicates that it was coined by Portuguese sailors, explorers who felt it upon seeing new lands and again upon returning home.
Anyway, I'm feeling it strongly today, and that's why you're hearing "Goodnight, Irene." It's one of the songs that was sung at the close of every musical gathering when I was growing up; a few people (usually us included) would stay later and play, sing, and talk quietly in smaller groups, but when the bulk of people were ready to leave, we'd all gather first and sing this song, it usually took about ten minutes (we have more verses than Johnny sings and would repeat the chorus several times at the end and between each verse, with an instrumental here and there.) It's one of those songs that both triggers/aggravates the saudade feelings, and somehow, perversely, soothes it. If any of you have saudade sometimes too, I'd love to hear about it. For many years I thought I was the only one, and it was great to know I am not alone.