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!


Sitting in a café (again!) to do some Monday work, I was asked a computer question by the woman next to me which led to a talk about having small computers (nice while traveling, so you don’t have to be stuck in the bad metaphor of choosing to carry your baby vs. your computer). I learned that this stranger had come to the café to mark the morning of her toddler daughter’s first day of school.

The Stranger: Hailey

Her Word: Content

The poem I wrote:

Once she finished
with children she turned
to plants. I wonder
at her sudden
gardening: when
did she grow
content enough
to wait for vegetables?
She spills her days
like cross vine
over the gate and down
the pipe where rain
meets the base
of the world:
deep in the dirt
she will find droplets
of teeth before teeth,
sinking her back
before fires caught
fire and children
caught birth.

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