The Poetry Of Relationships: 8 Friendship Poems For You To Read

Updated February 4, 2020
CheckedMedically Reviewed By Dr. Sonya Bruner, PsyD

Friendship is perhaps the most multi-purpose of all of our relationships. The ideal versions of all of our other relationships involve friendship. We hope to become friends with our family members. Lasting romantic partnerships needs to be undergirded by a deep friendship. In honor of this most basic of relationships, here are eight poems about friendship.


1. To My Excellent Lucasia, On Our Friendship

By Katherine Phillips

I did not live until this time

Crowned my felicity,

When I could say without a crime,

I am not thine, but thee.

This carcass breathed, and walked, and slept,

So that the world believed

There was a soul the motions kept;

But they were all deceived.

For as a watch by art is wound

To motion, such was mine:

But never had Orinda found

A soul till she found thine;

Which now inspires, cures and supplies,

And guides my darkened breast:

For thou art all that I can prize,

My joy, my life, my rest.

No bridegroom's nor crown-conqueror's mirth

To mine compared can be:

They have but pieces of the earth,

I've all the world in thee.

Then let our flames still light and shine,

And no false fear control,

As innocent as our design,

Immortal as our soul.

This poem is a celebration of the closeness and joy of friendship. The poet, Katherine Phillips, expresses the old idea that friendship is one soul in two bodies. Phillips is also known as "the Matchless Orinda." "Orinda" in the poem is a reference to herself by that name.

2. Friendship

By Henry David Thoreau

I think awhile of Love, and while I think,

Love is to me a world,

Sole meat and sweetest drink,

And close connecting link

'Tween heaven and earth.

I only know it is, not how or why,

My greatest happiness;

However hard I try,

Not if I were to die,

Can I explain.

I fain would ask my friend how it can be,

But when the time arrives,

Then Love is more lovely

Than anything to me,

And so I'm dumb.

For if the truth were known, Love cannot speak,

But only thinks and does;

Though surely out 'twill leak

Without the help of Greek,

Or any tongue.


A man may love the truth and practiSe it,

Beauty he may admire,

And goodness not omit,

As much as may befit

To reverence.

But only when these three together meet,

As they always incline,

And make one soul the seat,

And favourite retreat,

Of loveliness;

When under kindred shape, like loves and hates

And a kindred nature,

Proclaim us to be mates,

Exposed to equal fates


And each may other help, and service do,

Drawing Love's bands more tight,

Service he ne'er shall rue

While one and one make two,

And two are one;

In such case only doth man fully prove

Fully as man can do,

What power there is in Love

His inmost soul to move


Two sturdy oaks I mean, which side by side,

Withstand the winter's storm,

And spite of wind and tide,

Grow up the meadow's pride,

For both are strong.

Above they barely touch, but undermined

Down to their deepest source,

Admiring you shall find

Their roots are intertwined


One of the most famous poems about friendship, Henry David Thoreau's "Friendship" challenges some of our modern conception of friendship. We may think of friends as people that we have a good time with or people that we can vent to. Thoreau offers a vision of friendship as a source of strength that helps two people grow to their potential.

3. On the Friendship Betwixt Two Ladies

By Edmund Waller

Tell me, lovely, loving pair!

Why so kind, and so severe?

Why so careless of our care,

Only to yourselves so dear?

By this cunning change of hearts,

You the power of love control;

While the boy's eluded darts

Can arrive at neither soul.

For in vain to either breast

Still beguiled love does come,

Where he finds a foreign guest,

Neither of your hearts at home.

Debtors thus with like design,

When they never mean to pay,

That they may the law decline,

To some friend make all away.

Not the silver doves that fly,

Yoked in Cytherea's car;

Not the wings that lift so high,

And convey her son so far;

Are so lovely, sweet, and fair,

Or do more ennoble love;

Are so choicely matched a pair,

Or with more consent do move.


Although a man wrote this poem, this is a friendship poem for her. One of the benefits of close friendships is the freedom to be choosy about our romantic relationships. After all, we have many of the benefits of companionship with our friends.

4. Friendship

By Emily Bronte

Love is like the wild rose-briar,

Friendship like the holly-tree-

The holly is dark when the rose-briar blooms

But which will bloom most constantly?

The wild rose-briar is sweet in spring,

Its summer blossoms scent the air;

Yet wait till winter comes again

And who will call the wild-briar fair?

Then scorn the silly rose-wreath now

And deck thee with the holly's sheen,

That when December blights thy brow

He still may leave thy garland green.

Another friendship poem for her is "Love and Friendship" by Emily Bronte. Unlike Thoreau, who talked about "love" more generally as including the animating force of friendship, Bronte is contrasting romantic love with friendship. This is a poem to remember when we are tempted to let the excitement of a new lover tempt us to neglect our friends.

5. The Pleasures of Friendship

By Stevie Smith

The pleasures of friendship are exquisite,

How pleasant to go to a friend on a visit!

I go to my friend; we walk on the grass,

And the hours and moments like minutes pass.

Sometimes short friendship poems are the best friendship poems. In just four lines, Stevie Smith expresses the pleasure of a friendship so close and easy that time doesn't seem to pass while we are together.

6. A Time o Talk

By Robert Frost

When a friend calls to me from the road

And slows his horse to a meaning walk,

I don't stand still and look around

On all the hills I haven't hoed,

And shout from where I am, What is it?

No, not as there is a time to talk.

I thrust my hoe in the mellow ground,

Blade-end up and five feet tall,

And plod: I go up to the stone wall

For a friendly visit.

This poem by Robert Frost is a little longer, but still a short friendship poem at ten lines. Instead of expounding on the depths and joys of friendship, Frost reflects on the practical importance of making time for friends.


7. Your Catfish Friend

By Richard Brautigan

If I were to live my life
in catfish forms
in scaffolds of skin and whiskers
at the bottom of a pond
and you were to come by
one evening
when the moon was shining
down into my dark home
and stand there at the edge
of my affection
and think, "It's beautiful
here by this pond. I wish
somebody loved me,"
I'd love you and be your catfish
friend and drive such lonely
thoughts from your mind
and suddenly you would be
at peace,
and ask yourself, "I wonder
if there are any catfish
in this pond? It seems like
a perfect place for them."

Funny friendship poems don't have to be cutesy. This whimsical piece tickles our imaginations and portrays a deep love and connection with a friend in a way that doesn't come across as cliched or too intense.

8. Since Hanna Moved Away

By Judith Viorst

The tires on my bike are flat.
The sky is grouchy gray.
At least it sure feels like that
Since Hanna moved away.

Chocolate ice cream tastes like prunes.
December's come to stay.
They've taken back the Mays and Junes
Since Hanna moved away.

Flowers smell like halibut.
Velvet feels like hay.
Every handsome dog's a mutt
Since Hanna moved away.

Nothing's fun to laugh about.
Nothing's fun to play.
They call me, but I won't come out
Since Hanna moved away.

Written from the perspective of a child, this poem doesn't use fancy language or obscure references to express itself. Its very simplicity makes it relatable. We've all lost a friend, and it is a testimony to the power of friendship that the absence of that person can take away our appetite for everything that we usually enjoy in life.


What If You Can't Relate To These Poems?

Friendship is a beautiful thing, but friendship can also be a source of pain. If you have lost a friend and are struggling to cope with grief, or if you are feeling isolated and alone, consider reaching out for help. The trained professionals at BetterHelp can help you cope with your feelings of loss or isolation. They may also be able to help you figure out how to reach out to those around you for new or renewed friendships.

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