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!


Dear readers & poets,

After this poem, PFS & I are going on maternity leave for a few summer months. More poems and strangers to come soon! Here’s this spring’s final stranger…

So I rear-ended a car coming out of a parking lot. I apologized and we exchanged information. Then, to reassure myself that I’m a moderately reasonable person (even if my driving skills could use improvement), I scraped together my parking change and took myself for an ice cream cone. At the ice cream shop, Jenna upgraded me to a homemade cone AND second scoop – just to be kind.

The Stranger: Jenna 

Her Word: Beach

The poem I wrote:

When time washes back
and we wake from rice-seed
dreams of being born

into a bed of sand, so forgiving
and soft, we see again
where we are:

at the beach, the whitewashed
beginning and end
of the world, this place

where we belong, resting
alone and almost-breathing,

curling deep into the centuries. 


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