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!


While waiting for the light to change on First Thursday, I stood next to a man who was squinting into the sun after a flash rainstorm. We both commented on the sun and the rain. While we crossed the street I learned that he had moved here to do some campaigning. He collected my name for a clean water campaign. I thought I might as well collect his name for a poem.

The Stranger: Tom

His word: Fidelity

The poem I wrote:

What are we faithful to
day in and day out? It might be
as big as a god or as small as

              I was born
in a thunderstorm and every rain
feels like starting over – to live
in the desert after so much wet
is a strange calling. I remember
when nothing could catch

              Each day without rain
tests my fidelity to both

sky and mud.


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