Loneliness In Art: Timeless Poems About Loneliness

Medically reviewed by April Justice, LICSW
Updated July 15, 2024by BetterHelp Editorial Team
Loneliness can occur for many reasons, whether you're experiencing it in a crowd of people or at home alone. When you're experiencing this sense of isolation, there can be comfort in knowing you aren't the first to feel this way. People find solace through art, like poetry, which can showcase how emotions are universal.

Everyone feels lonely sometimes

Poems about loneliness

Below are some of the most popular poems about loneliness to read when you require understanding and support. 

Night 

In "Night," Michael Hofmann expresses how some people don't think twice about doing everyday activities like laundry or shopping unless they are experiencing loneliness. He explains how being upset and feeling unsupported makes accomplishing these often mundane tasks challenging.

It's all right.

Unless you're either lonely or under attack.

That strange effortful

Repositioning of yourself. Laundry, shopping,

Hours, the telephone-unless misinformed-

Only ever ringing for you, if it ever does.

The night-yours to decide,

Among drink, or books, or lying there.

On your back or curled up.

An embarrassment of poverty;

Flood: Years of Solitude

Dionisio D. Martínez's "Flood: Years of Solitude" may be relatable to anyone who has experienced loneliness. The narrator explains how loneliness is a human emotion that many people feel.

To the one who sets a second place at the table anyway.

To the one at the back of the empty bus.

To the ones who name each piece of stained glass projected on a white wall.

To anyone convinced that a monologue is a conversation with the past.

To the one who loses with the deck he marked.

To those who are destined to inherit the meek.

To us;

On Broadway

"On Broadway" by Claude McKay describes what it feels like to experience loneliness in a crowd. 

About me, young, careless feet

Linger along the garish street;

Above, a hundred shouting signs

Shed down their fantastic bright glow

Upon the merry crowd and lines

Of moving carriages below.

Oh, wonderful is Broadway-only

My heart, my heart is lonely.

Desire naked, linked with Passion,

Goes trutting by in brazen fashion;

From playhouse, cabaret, and inn

The rainbow lights of Broadway blaze

All gay without, all glad within;

As in a dream, I stand and gaze

At Broadway, shining Broadway-only

My heart, my heart is lonely;

Poems about enjoying solitude 

In some cases, people may be comfortable with their loneliness. In these situations, it may be better referred to as "aloneness" or "solitude." 

Ode on Solitude 

It can be healthy to be alone with one's thoughts. Some people love to be alone so much that they write poems about it. "Ode on Solitude" by Alexander Pope is another poem about loneliness.

Happy the man whose wish and care

A few paternal acres bound,

Content to breathe his native air,

In his own ground.

Whose herds with milk, whose fields with bread,

Whose flocks supply him with attire,

Whose trees in summer yield him shade,

In winter fire.

Blest, who can unconcernedly find

Hours, days, and years slide soft away,

In health of body, peace of mind,

Quiet by day,

Sound sleep by night; study and ease,

Together mixed; sweet recreation;

And innocence, which most does please,

With meditation.

Thus let me live, unseen, unknown;

Thus unlamented let me die;

Steal from the world and not a stone

Tell where I lie;

I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud

One of the best-known poems celebrating solitude is William Wordsworth's "I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud." Although the poems start on a sad note, the narrator becomes positively gleeful upon discovering some beautiful daffodils. After this discovery, whenever he feels that familiar tinge of loneliness, he remembers those flowers, which puts a new, positive spin on the idea of being alone.

I wandered lonely as a cloud

That floats on high o'er vales and hills,

When all at once I saw a crowd,

A host of golden daffodils;

Beside the lake, beneath the trees,

Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine

And twinkle on the milky way,

They stretched in never-ending line

Along the margin of a bay:

Ten thousand saw I at a glance,

Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced, but they

Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:

A poet could not but be gay,

In such a jocund company:

I gazed and gazed, but little thought

What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch, I lie

In vacant or in pensive mood,

They flash upon that inward eye

Which is the bliss of solitude;

And then my heart, with pleasure fills,

And dances with the daffodils;

Poems about connection 

When experiencing loneliness, people often reflect on those they care about and wish were by their side. Human connection is a natural desire, and the following poems discuss this topic.  

Alone 

It can be sad and scary for those forced to go through life alone, either by choice or design. One of Maya Angelou's poems, "Alone," details why humans need each other to survive:

Lying, thinking

Last night

How to find my soul a home

Where water is not thirsty

And bread loaf is not stone

I came up with one thing

And I don't believe I'm wrong

That nobody,

But nobody

Can make it out here alone.

Alone, all alone

Nobody, but nobody

Can make it out here alone.

There are some millionaires

With money, they can't use

Their wives run round like banshees

Their children sing the blues

They've got expensive doctors

To cure their hearts of stone.

Nobody, but nobody

Can make it out here alone.

Alone, all alone

Nobody, but nobody

Can make it out here alone.

Now if you listen closely

I'll tell you what I know

Storm clouds are gathering

The wind is gonna blow

The race of man is suffering

And I can hear the moan,

'Cause nobody,

But nobody

Can make it out here alone.

Alone, all alone

Nobody, but nobody

Can make it out here alone;

Those Winter Sundays

Some people feel most alone after losing a friend or family member, either to death or distance. When someone you love is no longer around, you may reflect on what they did for you and may experience guilt. 

Robert Hayden's "Those Winter Sundays"  encapsulates what it can be like to be an adult, reflecting on what your parents did for you as a child and how you may have been unaware of their love at the time. 

Sundays, too, my father got up early

and put his clothes on in the blue-black cold,

then with cracked hands that ached

from labor in the weekday, weather made

banked fires blaze. No one ever thanked him.

I'd wake and hear the cold splintering, breaking.

When the rooms were warm, he'd call,

and slowly, I would rise and dress,

fearing the chronic anger of that house,

Speaking indifferently to him,

who had driven out the cold

and polished my good shoes as well.

What did I know? What did I know

of love's austere and lonely offices?

Solutions for loneliness 

Loneliness is a common human experience, but there are ways you can reduce its impacts, including the following: 

  • Practice Self-Care: Your alone time may be more relaxing if you use it to value yourself and your needs. Consider taking up a hobby or creating something new. 
  • Think Positively: Studies show that lonely people tend to be "glass half empty" types. Being more aware of how your thoughts affect your mood may also give you better control of your emotions.
  • Find Somebody To Lean On: One cure for loneliness is being around others. Rely on your support system to help you through rough times. If you are struggling to meet people, there are apps to help you make friends.

Everyone feels lonely sometimes

Professional support options for loneliness 

Research shows that loneliness can have a moderate effect on depression. If you struggle with loneliness, help is available. If you feel like there's never anyone around when you need someone to talk to, an in-person or online therapist can offer you the space to explore your feelings of loneliness and help you figure out how to alleviate them. 

Online therapy has many benefits for people experiencing loneliness or depression. Many people with depression have difficulty getting out of bed or keeping appointments. With online therapy through a platform like BetterHelp, you can talk to a qualified professional from the comfort of your home. Additionally, you can message your therapist any time you're feeling lonely and receive a response when they're available. 

Research shows that online therapy is effective, too. One review concluded that online therapy might be more effective than in-person treatment for depression. 

Takeaway

Feeling lonely can be universal. Poems express beautifully and poignantly the various emotions you may experience when you are alone. If you are struggling with feeling lonely and want someone to talk to, consider reaching out to a therapist. You can discuss how these poems made you feel and consider a writing exercise of your own to release the emotions you're experiencing.
You're not alone with your loneliness
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