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!


This stranger was working at the Cambridge Post Office where I went to pick up a birthday package – she just looked happy. I asked how her day was going and she said, “Great! I got a parking spot.”

The Stranger: Joanie

The Word: Sweet

The poem I wrote:

Discipline is doing
some unwanted thing
for the future, when
you know you’ll be glad for it.
But, traffic! And the sweet
stink of a city, how the doors
of the bus so trustingly
open – and the wetness
of summer, how thick hair curls,
and how animal we are,
not at all disciplined –
there are radishes for sale
the color of sunrise
and aren’t these books
just getting in the way.

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