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!


Our dishwasher began burbling up murky fluids—its last mischief in a long history of mischiefs—and so we decided to replace it. Murf was lying on his side on our kitchen floor installing the new one when I met him. He asked about my work and I told him about Poetry for Strangers. “I’m a stranger,” he said.

The Stranger: Murf 

His Word: Lovingly

The poem I wrote:

We are mortal in the winter,
less so in other seasons

that force us outside
to animal country,

into places where we
must move our bodies

again, first with fear,
dispelling the cold,

and at last lovingly,
aching down into

the dirt, into our very
own enduring plots.


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