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!


“Would you like one of these cherry turnovers?” George asked. He was seated at the café table next to me and had just bought a pair of day-old ones on sale. Yes, of course!, always, please, thank you – I rarely allow myself such indulgences. While we ate our turnovers, I learned that today was his dog’s birthday and that she, lucky girl, would be getting a steak for dinner that night.

The Stranger: George 

His Word: Labrador

The poem I wrote:

Always intended for work, with labor
bred into their name: once they retrieved

in the Labrador Sea, and before that
they were gun-dogs, unafraid of cold

or the noise of explosion. These dogs
were taught to track the fallen

in the Vietnam War, but not allowed
to return home. My Labrador took care

of a flockless goose all winter: nobody can say
that friendship isn’t a labor all its own.


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