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 everybody,

Sohail and his wife own Taj Majal in downtown Boise, which makes pretty amazing Indian food. I came in one chilly evening to carry out an armful of takeout, and he gave me a comfortable chair and a warm cup of anis-cinnamon-cardamom tea.

The Stranger: Sohail

His word: Blessed

The poem I wrote:

Walking in the hills I saw a man with leaves of lettuce falling
from his pocket. What is he doing? I thought, then I saw him
leave it inside a rabbit hole. He said: “We are blessed to live

so close to the skittish foxes and the deer who stretch out
on the lawn next door, and the close-watching rabbits. What
a blessing to help them through the winter.” Yes, a blessing

to give food to any animal who needs it, a blessing to grow
lettuce or mix the spices that become tea. A blessing to greet
strangers and feed them lentils, warm milk, or just poetry.

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