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!


In London still. I walked at night through Notting Hill with a friend, stopped for a rose-oil latte and kept walking. The circumstances of meeting this stranger woke me up to the fact that Poetry for Strangers could probably use pictures.

Sirius was working in a small grocery shop; near the cash register stood a bucket full of odd purple vegetables that looked like pale curled hands. What in the world –? Sirius explained: “These are radicchios grown in the dark to make them more tender. They do look like they’re from another world.”


The word he offered begins with EU, which got us onto the Brexit topic, and it means a feeling of bliss – of having all you need. I asked him about his experience with Brexit and his response was lovely: “How is apart ever better than together?”

The Stranger: Sirius

The Word: Eudemonic

The poem I wrote:

What kind of beast
have I become, singing
as I do into the coal
mines each night,
waking earlier each day
and curling backward
into the cave-wet dark?
I shed fur and teeth,
shredding evenings
into bits of white clay,
chalk-proof that I am
nothing but thin nights
filled with unlearning
muscles and loose-jaw
eudemonic ease: I am
a good animal, that is all.

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