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!


Near the hill where we taught the children to sled, the Alaskan huskies stood watching, harnessed into pairs. At times they whined if people came too close and they thought it was time to run. I asked the owner, Brian, about the dogs. How many miles they run. How they sleep. How it all started. He said, “It started with two dogs pulling my snowboard.” Now he breeds huskies and exercises three teams to pull sleds for families visiting the ski resort. The dogs were great to watch. Some rested their heads on their partner’s backs.

The Stranger: Brian

His Word: Sled dog

The poem I wrote:

Inspired, in part, by GC

One week gone and none
of you, stamped out
like magic, holding
our children tight.
Well up, well up, well
it’s good to know
you are somewhere
these cold nights,
doing your hours
like a good sled dog
dreaming deep
of some escaped
harness, leaning over
someone else’s shoulders.

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