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!


The first day of spring break, I went to a friend’s house where we consolidated our five-year-olds and taught them to make bees out of yellow paper, toothpicks, and toilet paper rolls. Then the adults, including this stranger and I, ate popcorn, talked, worried in the way that parents do, and admired the bees.

The Stranger: Daysha

Her Word: Heart

The poem I wrote:

You remember him
like a field of wheat.
His asking
one thing of his children:
to last
a long time.
There’s a heart space
where we carry
The Father –
the fields he plowed,
his dearest words
on caution,
the light of him
tractoring while the rest
of us slept.
His words grew crops,
his not-words
cut a quiet maze. Better
to water needs
before wants—that
was his first secret.
only in striving
toward the work
can the life be kept
Third is to look
death in the face
once the needs
and the work
are met,
the wanting
still unfinished.

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