Poetry for Strangers is about finding inspiration in community, in people, in the chance encounters of everyday life. PFS suggests that every person can be a “muse” of a poem. Every week of this year I will ask a stranger for a single word and then write a poem inspired by the word. I invite you to do the same.

Share your poem on this week’s word!


When Brian moved to Idaho, he began pursuing a hobby fulltime: beekeeping.

When my daughter and I stopped by his market stand for Katie Bee honey, Brian taught us about bees: how honey gets released from the comb, how queens shrink when they age, how the other bees smother the old queen when they have a new one ready. (“Does she fight it,” I asked, “after having them do her bidding for so long?” “No,” Brian answered. “She won’t know what’s going on.”)

My daughter and I tasted the honey – it was delicious.

The Stranger: Brian

His word: Apiary

The poem I wrote:

Who could know
that the making
of honey
is a lonely task?

Inside the apiary

we are nothing
but winged monks,
and toiling
in our cells,

the pollen we eat

a ritual
for our craft.
is always holy,
always a gift

from duty

and respect
for the world
that gives
us flowers,
water, sunlight,

our hungry
young to feed,

and to each
our own cells.


The Challenge: Do you have a poem in you on this word? Write one here.