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!


I was having lunch with a friend who was telling me about a meditation class she attends and all of the great people in it. As if summoned, Tom, a member of her class, showed up. He and his wife joined our table and we four talked for an hour.

The Stranger: Tom 

His Word: Pedantic

The poem I wrote:

To be pedantic is to wend one’s way
into a cage, smug and caught

in the pretense of knowing everything:
no way of being trapped

is much better than any other, but
if I had to choose, better

to be a dumb trapped animal than
a human who makes a mark

by hitting others on their heads
with a teaspoon once,

which is already too many times.


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