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!


Over the weekend the actor Julian Sands performed the poems of Harold Pinter. He was “anointed” to read them before the great playwright died—and he read them this weekend with love and humor and a disarming sense of respect for both the words and the man who wrote them. I got to sit in the front row with a group of hard-core Julian Sands fans who had adored him since his role in A Room with a View. When he offered me a word, he said, “Traveler. No—make it travelers.”

The Stranger: Julian

The Word: Travelers

The poem I wrote:

Name your price
and I will pay
to keep you
and this just
as I remember:
being here
together, travelers,
knowing you
wear differently
each place.
Dirt still clings
to your fingers;
don’t wash it
off just yet.

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