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!



 

It felt a bit like a comedy skit. I left the house on date-night without my husband. I had looked for him in the house and thought he might’ve left already. He spied me from the window and called, “You’re going on our date without me?”

It was a perfect spring evening, an evening that cried out to be walked in. It was no wonder that soon a neighbor walked by. His name was Don, he was in his eighties, and he was walking a dog named Joy. I liked listening to him. He said: “I’ve lived here a long time. I’m nearly 87. Used to spend three quarters of a day up in those hills. I used to be the youngest in the neighborhood when my wife and I first married. Those were the houses where the old people lived—those same houses now are home to young families. It’s a good place. Can’t hardly be beat, if you enjoy it.”

I promised to hand-deliver his poem, for of computers he said: “Don’t have much time for them.”

The Stranger: Don

His Word: Enjoyment

The poem I wrote:

Sunshine before storm.
A boy
in my arms. I sing
and he shakes his head.

*

I don’t know yet
how to sing to you.

All I know
is how to turn us both
into birds.

**

Girl edits boy. Boy edits girl.
Perhaps there is some
enjoyment in it.

Boy asks, Do you think
the crocuses
will rise today?

I must tell
these stories now
so they may become
the future.

So many ways I have let
myself be loved.

**

Such a story catches
in my bones

like shrapnel.
I must tell it now
or else it will become
the future.

*

I say, You
sing me a song.
Like a dolphin
he does.

 

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