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!


As of this week, the new book is newly out. Here it is! You can see a preview by clicking on the cover.

Recently Treasure Valley Children’s Theater performed Charlotte’s Web – one of my favorite stories, even down to the last line: “It is not often that someone comes along who is a true friend and a good writer. Charlotte was both.” I went with my daughter, who asked some tricky questions afterward about why the pig had nightmares about guns and knives. We stayed to congratulate the cast, and we met…

The Stranger: Michelle (a.k.a. Charlotte of the Web)

Her Word: Humble

The poem I wrote:

I forget
a lot. I forget most things.
But I will write it down
now at night
far past your bedtime
and mine, beyond the howl
or the happiness you
gave us tonight – and I will
remember how I reached down
and you held my arm and
at last slept. I cradled
your small wonderful
face with all its secrets.

I held the pose until it hurt.
These things

I’ll do my best to keep.
Writing them helps.
Being alive means
aching to remember
it all, and in this way
I fail myself day in
and day out. For

there is such slippage,
every humble minute
contented or sad
and the best you can do
is hold him in your mind
asleep and alive
until your legs hurt
and you can look at him
no longer.


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