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!



In Mexico City this past week, sitting in a lush courtyard (insert bird-song here), my toddler daughter and I made fast friends with a woman named Tanya who had recently moved with her husband from Calgary to a small town a few hours out of Mexico City. I asked if she felt lonely so far from home. She said she had expected to – but no, she answered. Not at all.

The Stranger: Tanya

Her word: Passion

The poem I wrote:

We the good animals, we who know
what it takes to eat well – we are hard
at work training our eyes.

Just look for the coconut,
we animals say. Look
at the hanging hocks of meat.

No, says the poet who is determined
to starve. Look for the lime blossoms.
Look for the right words. You know

certain stars come out only if you
are looking sideways. Look/don’t look
for those. There is meat to eat,
and there are colors that come out

when your vision refuses
the straight line:

                 lime-pulp      octopus-fragile

    passion fruit

                            steal-from-the-temple gray.

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