Friendship Poems

Friendship is one of the highlights of being human.  Whether you value your friends’ constant care for you, their interest in your life and passions, or their trustworthiness, good friends more than deserve to be honored with poetry.

So, let’s celebrate your friends and explore some poems that articulate the often complex feelings that we have for those nearest and dearest to us: our friends.

To My Excellent Lucasia, on Our Friendship

by Katherine Philips

‘To My Excellent Lucasia, on Our Friendship’ by Katherine Philips describes the relationship that existed between the poet and her friend Anne Owens. 

Alongside ‘Orinda to Lucasia’ this is one of several wonderful pieces of poetry that Phillips wrote with the theme of friendship in mind. This poem is addressed to Philips’s close friend Anne Owens, known in the poems as Lucasia, while Philips is called “Orinda.” The entire text is dedicated to the way these women changed one another. Philips’s soul was revitalized by this relationship and became an entirely different person once she knew she had Owens in her life for good.

I did not live until this time

Crowned my felicity,

When I could say without a crime,

I am not thine, but thee.

A Time to Talk

by Robert Frost

‘A Time to Talk’ by Robert Frost is a poem abut the importance of friendship. Nothing should get in the way of greeting a friend one truly cares about.

Within this piece, Frost speaks about the importance of friendship and how nothing should get in the way of greeting a friend who has come to visit. The poem begins with the speaker describing a situation in which his “friend calls” to him “from the road.” Neither the reader nor the speaker is aware of what the friend has to say. Of greater interest to Frost than the information that might be shared, is the speaker’s choice to set aside his “hoe” and go speak to his friend. This poem was meant to remind readers that it does not matter how tired one is or what work is left to do, a good friend “plod[s]” down and has a “friendly visit.”

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

Summer Friends

by Mary Lamb

‘Summer Friends’ by Mary Lamb is a sixteen line poem that speaks to the invulnerable relationship between friends in good times and bad. 

This sixteen line poem speaks to what should be the invulnerable relationship between friends in good times and bad. The poem follows the life of a swallow, who comes to live in the speaker’s chimney during the summer months. He has become a part of the family, a friend who’s presence is welcome and expected. Things change when the winter months come: the sparrow’s need for “Man” is greater.

The Swallow is a summer bird;

He in our chimneys, when‘the weather is fine and warm, may then be heard

Chirping his notes for weeks together.

Orinda to Lucasia

by Katherine Philips

‘Orinda to Lucasia’ by Katherine Philips describes the importance and intensity of the relationship she holds with her close friend, Anne Owens. 

In this piece, Philips describes the importance and intensity of the relationship she held with her close friend, Anne Owens. The poem compares the speaker’s friendship with Anne Owens to the sun. Owens is as critical to Philip’s survival as heat and light are to birds and flowers. She knows she won’t survive much longer without her.

OBSERVE the weary birds ere night be done,

How they would fain call up the tardy sun,

With feathers hung with dew,

And trembling voices too.

The Other Side

by Seamus Heaney
This complex and moving poem is a depiction of the sectarianism between Protestants and Catholics in the 70s. The poet looks back on his own youth and the relationship he had with a neighbour who lived next door. At first, it is a poor one. The neighbour is a Protestant “stranger” and speaks poorly of Heaney’s family and their lands. As time passes, and the stanzas go on, the man becomes friendlier. By the end of ‘The Other Side,’ the neighbour has come to the Heaney home in order to get to know the family better and show a kindness he didn’t exhibit before.

Thigh-deep in sedge and marigolds,

a neighbour laid his shadow

on the stream, vouching

On the Death of Anne Brontë

by Charlotte Brontë

‘On the Death of Anne Brontë’ by Charlotte Brontë describes the poet’s grief over her beloved sister’s death and her relief that Anne’s suffering has ended. 

This terribly sad poem comes from the perspective of the poet herself. Charlotte describes her grief over her sister Anne’s death. They were very close sisters as well as friends. The poem describes how Charlotte has lived to see a day she did not want to see when her most cherished companion has died. This person, her sister Anne, was so important to her that she would’ve died to save her if she could have.

There's little joy in life for me,

      And little terror in the grave;

I 've lived the parting hour to see

      Of one I would have died to save.

Provide, Provide

by Robert Frost

‘Provide, Provide’ by Robert Frost is a powerful depiction of the inevitability of death. Frost spends time talking about the ways one can face the fact that they aren’t going to live forever.

In this poem, Frost speaks on life, death, and the various ways one can approach the indisputable facts of mortality. It is an intricately layered work that delves into the difficulties of finding one’s path through life and the correct companions to keep one company. Using an ironic and sometimes mocking tone, Frost confronts themes of life, friendship, death, and one’s legacy.

The witch that came (the withered hag)

To wash the steps with pail and rag,

Was once the beauty Abishag,

A Song for New Year’s Eve

by William Cullen Bryant
In ‘A Song for New Year’s Eve,’ Bryant discusses themes of change, memory, and hope. These are seen through Bryant’s depiction of the past and the fact that now, as the year is ending and friends are buried, all that’s left are memories. The “change” is undeniable. It’s going to come in the next hours as the old year ends and the new begins. There is nothing they can do to stop it.

Stay yet, my friends, a moment stay— 

     Stay till the good old year, 

So long companion of our way, 

     Shakes hands, and leaves us here. 


In Memory of Major Robert Gregory

by William Butler Yeats
This poem is an elegy or a devotional piece of writing completed after someone’s death. In this case, it is for Major Robert Gregory. He was the son of one of Yeats’ closest friends, Lady Augusta Gregory. He was an airman who died in a battle in World War I. The loss of Robert inspired Yeats to consider other losses he suffered throughout his life.

Now that we're almost settled in our house

I'll name the friends that cannot sup with us

Beside a fire of turf in th' ancient tower,

A Friend’s Greeting

by Edgar Guest

Edgar Guest’s ‘A Friend’s Greeting’ is a heart-touching poem about a speaker’s gratitude for his dearest friend. This poem is written in the form of a greeting in verse.

This poem is a lighthearted, emotional verse about the meaning of friendship. In it, the speaker expresses his platonic love for his best friend who he aspires to be like. Although the speaker wants to be a meaningful part of his friend's life by doing splendid things for him, all he has to offer are his heart-warming poems.

I'd like to be the sort of friend that you have been to me;

I'd like to be the help that you've been always glad to be;

I'd like to mean as much to you each minute of the day

As you have meant, old friend of mine, to me along the way.

Explore more poems about Friendship

Death of a Young Woman

by Gillian Clarke

Explore ‘Death of a Young Woman,’ where Clarke depicts how a loved one’s death lets a person free from their inward, endless suffering.

Explore 'Death of Young Woman' in order to find out how true friends always remain by one's side who is going through hard times caused by a close one's death.

My Kate

by Elizabeth Barrett Browning

‘My Kate’ by Elizabeth Barrett Browning is a sorrowful elegy dedicated to a morally righteous and important woman who has passed away. 

Friendship is an important topic at work in this Browning poem. The poet speaks about how easily Kate made friends, influencing and bettering all those she met throughout her life.

At Pegasus

by Terrance Hayes

‘At Pegasus’ by Terrance Hayes is a powerful poem about identity that uses a youthful memory and a contemporary experience to speak about life.

One of the most critical parts of the poem is the speaker's recollection of his childhood friendship with Curtis, another young boy with whom he used to play outside in a sewage-filled stream.

To a Dead Friend

by Langston Hughes

‘To a Dead Friend’ by Langston Hughes is a depressing poem about the ways death can permanently alter one’s ability to see or feel joy.

Hughes' poem about the death of a friend is powerful simply because of the way the speaker expresses so emphatically the ways in which their life is permanently devoid of joy because of it. With virtually no real details about their friendship, the reader is impressed with a profound understanding of the sadness felt by its severance.

At First

by Amanda Gorman

‘At First’ by Amanda Gorman is a poem about language in the COVID-19 pandemic. The poem uses text messages to speak about how the pandemic changed everyone. 

The poet discusses friendship in this poem and how during the pandemic, friendships were tested. People had to find new ways to adapt and maintain their social circles as through a series of text messages.

There’s No Power Like Home

by Amanda Gorman

‘There’s No Power Like Home’ by Amanda Gorman is a beautiful testament to the difficulties associated with COVID-19 restrictions. 

The poet alludes to the bonds of friendship in this poem and how during the pandemic, they were tested. People had to find new ways to adapt and maintain their social circles.

The Tale of Custard the Dragon

by Ogden Nash

‘The Tale of Custard the Dragon’ by Ogden Nash is a ballad about a young girl, Belinda, and her four pets, one of whom is a cowardly dragon named Custard.

The bonds between Belinda and her pets are highlighted, especially when Custard ultimately saves the day by defeating the pirate. Belinda loves her animals as though they were human friends.

The Eternal Goodness

by John Greenleaf Whittier

‘The Eternal Goodness’ by John Greenleaf Whittier is a relatively unknown 19th-century poem that explores religious themes and the various ways that God’s love comes through. 

The speaker addresses his friends throughout most of this poem. He speaks to them in the first lines, and it is not until the final stanza, when he turns his words to God, that he stops talking to them.

3 November 1984

by Sujata Bhatt

In ‘3 November 1984,’ Indian-English poet Sujata Bhatt shows how history plays a vital role in the process of writing poetry, and their interconnectedness.

A Stopwatch and an Ordnance Map

by Stephen Spender

‘A Stopwatch and an Ordnance Map’ by Stephen Spender explores the Spanish Civil War through the lyrical depiction of one man’s death. It is marked by a stopwatch, the olive trees, and the continued conflict around him. 

A Subaltern

by Siegfried Sassoon

In ‘A Subaltern’ the speaker catches a glimpse of the innocence and hope he thought the war had erased in a conversation with a junior military officer.

An Irish Airman Foresees His Death

by William Butler Yeats

After losing his dear friend in World War I, William Butler Yeats wrote this particular poem, ‘An Irish Airman Foresees His Death. Robert Gregory, an Irish Airman, was accidentally shot down by an Italian Aviator, who happened to be a dear friend of Yeats.

Buckingham Palace

by Alan Alexander Milne

‘Buckingham Palace’ is one of the clever poems that A.A. Milne wrote featuring his famous characters from the Winnie-the-Pooh books. It depicts Alice and Christopher’s trip to see the changing of the guard.


by Jackie Kay

‘Darling’ by Jackie Kay describes a woman’s death on a beautiful summer day and her close friend’s reaction. It was inspired by a personal loss the poet experienced. 

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