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!


I love my neighborhood. On a walk to the market to have a coffee and make a list, I saw a really good dog, the kind of white and bluish-black herding animal that populates children’s books about farms. I scratched his head and met his owner—Jim—who pronounced the dog the “best damn dog I’ve ever had.”

The Stranger: Jim

The Word: Change

The poem I wrote:

They play on top
of the root cellar,
above the warmth
of rotting vegetables.
They root me here,
heavy and astounded
by their heaviness,
their new-cut roots
and—my god—the
miracle, the change.

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