Poems About Loneliness That Everyone Can Relate To

By Mary Elizabeth Dean

Updated February 06, 2020

Reviewer Deborah Horton

It is ironic that the more connected we get to each other via social media, the less we connect face to face. And there's a lot to be said for that face-to-face connection! For one thing, you can't hug someone on Facebook, and there's so much that can only be conveyed through body language. Even a positive facial expression can mean everything when we can't find the words to express what we feel.

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When we're feeling isolated, it's a comfort to know that we're not alone. One of the best ways to receive solace is through art, which lets us know our feelings are universal. Here are some poems about loneliness that may help you feel a little less alone.

Loneliness in Poetry

In "Night," Michael Hofmann expresses how we don't think twice about doing everyday activities like laundry or shopping unless we are lonely or otherwise burdened. Being upset makes it difficult to accomplish these otherwise mundane tasks:

Night-Michael Hofmann

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.

Dionisio D. Martinez's "Flood: Years of Solitude," is relatable to anyone who has experienced loneliness. Note how the narrator conveys in the last line with only two simple words how we are all in this together:

Flood: Years of Solitude-Dionisio D. Martinez

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.

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"On Broadway" by Claude McKay describes what it feels like to be lonely in a crowd. And how much more crowded does it get than on Broadway?

On Broadway-Claude McKay

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.

It's Not All Bad

Sometimes we're alone and we're okay with it. In these situations, we're not "lonely"; we are simply by ourselves. It's nice to be alone sometimes, to enjoy the quiet and take the time to reflect. It can be healthy to be alone with our thoughts. Some of us love to be alone-so much so that we write poetry about it. "Ode on Solitude" by Alexander Pope is one such poem:

Ode to Solitude-Alexander Pope

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.

One of the best-known poems celebrating solitude is William Wordsworth's "I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud." Although the poem starts 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 again, he remembers those flowers, which puts a new, positive spin on the idea of being alone:

I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud-William Wordsworth

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.

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Poems About Others

When we're lonely, we often reflect on the people that we care about and wish they were by our side. But what if we have no one to care about? It can be sad and scary for those who are forced to go through life alone, either by choice or design. Maya Angelou's "Alone" details why humans need each other to survive:

Alone-Maya Angelou

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.

But nobody

No, 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.

Perhaps the time we feel most alone is when we lose a friend or family member, either to death or distance. When someone we love is no longer around, we begin to reflect on the things they did for us, and we often feel guilty that we did not do enough in return to show our appreciation.

Robert Hayden's "Those Winter Sundays" perfectly encapsulates what it's like to be an adult reflecting on the things our parents did for us when we were children, and how we were unaware of the extent of their love at the time.

Those Winter Sundays-Robert Hayden

Sundays too my father got up early

and put his clothes on in the blueblack 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 to Loneliness

We will all feel lonely at some point in life. Here are some suggestions that can help:

Practice self-care. Making your alone time relaxing can help you value it more.

Think positive. Studies show that lonely people tend to be "glass half empty" types. Being more aware of how your thoughts affect your mood will give you better control of your emotions too.

Find somebody to lean on. The best cure for loneliness is fellowship. Rely on your support system to help you through rough times. If you are struggling to meet people, there are apps to help make the process easier

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BetterHelp Can Help

If you struggle with loneliness, help is available. If you have recently lost someone close to you, you may need professional help. And if you feel like there's never anyone around when you need someone to talk to, online counseling, such as that offered by BetterHelp, can be just the thing. Our counselors are available anytime you need a shoulder to cry on or some friendly advice, and they can also offer safe suggestions to help you connect with people in your area. Read below for some reviews of BetterHelp counselors from people experiencing similar issues.

Counselor Reviews

"Stephen is extremely professional. He is very helpful and kind. I feel so much better after talking to him. He listens to you and cares for you. And makes you feel like you are not alone."

"Shelley is very accommodating, gentle and encouraging. No matter what place I was in, she tries to make me comfortable exactly where that is. She is the comforting soul that keep me company in a lonely place. I look forward to each of our session, and I'm given weekly takeaways to reflect on that helps tremendously, step by step, week by week. Learning to love yourself, learning to love your time spent, these are not always the easiest thing to do, but it's a lifelong process. Shelley is the perfect guide."

Conclusion

Loneliness is a universal feeling. Poetry expresses the various emotions you may experience when you are alone in a beautiful and poignant way. If you are struggling with loneliness, help is available. You don't have to be alone. Take the first step today.


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