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.”

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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.