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!


Dear friends,

It’s been a hard week for runners and their friends this week – and even living across the continent still brings vulnerability, a sense of loss and loneliness. I’m not sure what to do, except write about it, be good to my people, and keep on.

Yesterday my daughter and I went to the Chocolat Bar in Boise to get some chocolates for friends.

The Stranger: Jenn, who filled us a box of chocolate bark.

Her word: Pancake

The poem I wrote:

Families form the way rocks do –
layer upon layer we build on each other,
holding up and holding down the next
like a pancake stack. Do we learn this way,
from looking above and below? Is it all
the nuisance of being elbowed in too closely,
how if syrup spills on one it spills on all?
Or is it about keeping unlonely, for at least
we know from which batter we come?


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