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 was at the post office when a person in line struck up conversation. I was holding a copy of Poetry for Strangers (the book!) to send to a friend, and this stranger said that he used to love reading poetry. “Which kind?” I asked. It was so unexpected to talk poetry at the post office that I didn’t balk when he offered two words instead of one.

The Stranger: Scott David

His Word: Falling Leaf

The poem I wrote:

It is thought
a heart breaks
like a falling leaf,
one silent snap
then a fall –
instead bunches
of leaves rolling
across roads
like skulls –
hitting ground
year after year.

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