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!


Happy start to February!

I had the good luck to be in McCall during winter festival, where artists compete to carve the best statue out of snow, and where you can just feel the end of Mardi Gras. I stopped in for coffee and salted-caramel cheesecake at Stacey Cakes Bakery, where I met:

The stranger: Stacey

Her word: Sugar

The poem I wrote:

In a white-encrusted city,
even the winter has given up
sunshine for Lent. Frozen lakes
like icing cakes and everything
looks so good you could eat it.
Bright beads hang from doorknobs,
carnival souvenirs. But the fun will end
soon, everybody knows; soon it is
the month for giving-up, a second
try for unkept resolutions. And
the given-ups taste so good,
and we know we will long
for them until March.

You can even hear
the wind across the lake,
a collective whisper saying,
sugar is so good. Have sugar.
Sugar! Please, sugar. One more time.


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