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!


April stayed two nights in our home on her way back to Tacoma. Somehow it emerged in conversation that she writes poems, and the night ended with us sitting at the kitchen counter, doing free-writes together, reading aloud what we had written.

The Stranger: April

Her Word: Riff

The poem I wrote:

How we are never inured
(be still) to our wildness,
the clip-clip frenzy
each day brings, so the way
we mark it is to sing
(be still) the songs we
know deep, the ones to
keep us drilling (be still)
into the oil and earth
of our windblown days,
small riffs to ask ourselves
what is the hardest thing:

(Be still.)

(Be still.)

(Be still.)

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