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!


One Saturday we took the train to Boston Public Gardens to do the usual things: feed old bagels to the ducks, sit on the “Make Way for Ducklings” statues, walk across the street to the Common and eye the frog pond and ride the merry-go-round. In Boston Common we met Marty, who makes balloon creations. My daughter had just received a balloon-making kit, so when he offered her a balloon animal, she told him that she could make them too. Marty handed her an unshaped balloon and asked, “Will you make me a dog?”

The Stranger: Marty

The Word: Balloon

The poem I wrote:

“What you learn from a balloon”

Here we are
over the edge—
and there is beauty.


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