Poignant. A word we don’t use too much these days. Do you need to grab a dictionary?

Just the sound of the word, just the fact that it’s dropping into disuse, is, well, poignant.

An idea, a memory, an echo from the past, that brings nostalgia, an indefinable longing for, for …. Something. We’re not quite sure what. A piercing feeling, tinged with gladness, tinged with pain, tinged with sadness. Something that touches us to our core. A snatch of an almost forgotten melody perhaps.

A lone piper on the misty battlements of Edinburgh Castle.

The heading note above Proverbs Chapter 30 tells us that these are the words of Agur Ben Yakeh. Probably not an Israelite.

Proverbs 30:18-19. (NIV)

18 “There are three things that are too amazing for me,
    four that I do not understand:
19 the way of an eagle in the sky,
    the way of a snake on a rock,
the way of a ship on the high seas,
    and the way of a man with a maiden.”

Agur is reflecting on four things that amaze and mystify him. An eagle, effortlessly lifting and soaring on the wind. A snake, gracefully moving across a smooth, warm rock. Whose soul has not been moved by a four-master heeling to the breeze? And the gentle blossoming of love between a young man and a young maid.


Most commentators, especially the hoary ones, read the final line as the crafty cad despoiling the beautiful girl. But I think they are wrong. That meaning is discordant with the three preceding lines. Properly understood, and wisely practiced, romance is amazing, vibrant, soul-building. Poignant.

Readers are telling me they discover that poignancy in ‘A Thousand Tears from Home’. Check it out  athousandtearsfromhome.com