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!


At a hotel in Frenchglen, Oregon (pop. 11), I met this stranger. People come here, to the Steens Mountain, to look at birds: redwing blackbirds, pintail ducks, sandhill cranes, great horned owls, which I heard hooting in the night. I adored talking with this stranger over family-style dinner at the hotel, and she didn’t hesitate when giving me her word. (Her husband leaned over: “I have a word too! Migration!”)

The Stranger: Dottie 

Her Word: Integrity

The poem I wrote:

you have come home
I see

as a bird

I will live a life
of integrity

Yes I will
migrate when it
is time

and I will know
the time
because you

have taught me
that and other things

though I will
forget them all

during flight


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