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!


This week’s stranger is an artist named Rachel Teannalach, and what caught me most when I saw her work exhibited was her “tinyExpanse” series: every single day she makes an oil painting on a tiny 3×3 canvas, which she says is a reminder that “beauty is available everywhere, you just have to pay attention.” Her series felt somehow like a visual equivalent of Poetry for Strangers: a creative practice as a way to engage with the world during day-to-day travel.

The Stranger: Rachel

Her Word: Intersection

The poem I wrote:

Again the goldfinch flies hard
against my window. She sees
danger in the intersection

of sky and glass, her life of nestlings
mirroring mine of children. Won’t
someone tell her: don’t fear spring?

She would crack open the yolk
of that lie far too easily. Is she just
looking for some better use of her wings?

We take a few photos, then look
away. Again the goldfinch
flies hard against my window.

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