As I walked up the lane yesterday, I saw some green spikes poking through the soil in my neighbour’s trough. “Ah!” I thought. “Harbingers of spring!” – because I’m a poet, after all, and that’s how we think, isn’t it?
And definitely how we talk.
It got me thinking about the word “harbinger”. It’s not one you hear very often, and while technically you could harbinge(?) anything, in my head you only get harbingers of spring and harbingers of doom.
Here’s a definition of harbinger from Oxford Dictionaries:
1A person or thing that announces or signals the approach of another.
‘witch hazels are the harbingers of spring’
1.1 A forerunner of something.
‘these works were not yet opera but they were the most important harbinger of opera’
Middle English: from Old French herbergere, from herbergier ‘provide lodging for’, from herberge ‘lodging’, from Old Saxon heriberga ‘shelter for an army, lodging’ (from heri ‘army’ + a Germanic base meaning ‘fortified place’), related to harbour. The term originally denoted a person who provided lodging, later one who went ahead to find lodgings for an army or for a nobleman and his retinue, hence, a herald (mid 16th century).
So there are definitely harbingers of spring out there!
Tonight, I want you to write about a harbinger. Maybe of spring, maybe of doom. Maybe of something else – the moment you had an inkling that this person might be attractive, the moment you realised you quite enjoyed this hobby that took over your life, the first little sign of pregnancy…sometimes we don’t realise how significant a moment is until we are looking back at it, and then we realise – aha! – that was the start of it all.
Let’s explore the new beginnings we’ve experienced, open them up a little and dig around.
Once you’ve written your poem, please comment here, and link up to Mr Linky. And do take time to explore the poetry trail – we all like to be read!