Loneliness Poems

According to John Steinbeck, “All great and precious things are lonely.” Loneliness is a tough emotion, but ultimately, poetry can help us remember that everything we feel, from loneliness to heartbreak, is a normal human emotion that other people are also feeling as we speak.

These poems about loneliness are a great reminder that we all feel lonesome sometimes. Despite the unpleasant feelings that accommodate solitude, something beautiful, such as a great poem, can come from them.

I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud

by William Wordsworth

William Wordsworth’s literary classic, ‘Daffodils,’ also known as ‘I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud,’ is one of the most popular poems in the English language. It is a quintessential poem of the Romantic movement.

'I wandered Lonely as a Cloud' is one of the best poems in the English language, as it is packed with intense emotional meaning. This poem's uplifting, contemplative perspective on loneliness reminds the listener that solitude is not always a bad thing. In many cases, it gives one the space they need to see the beauty in nature, their memories, and other people.

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;

Sonnet 29

by William Shakespeare

‘When, in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes’ by William Shakespeare is part of the “Fair Youth” sequence of poems. In these poems, the speaker expresses his love and adoration for a young man.

The speaker of 'When, in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes’ is consumed by loneliness and self-criticism, invaded by intrusive thoughts. He seems hopeless and depressed. However, he learns how to soothe his sorrow by thinking of a "fair youth" who reminds him that he is fortunate to be himself.

When, in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes,

I all alone beweep my outcast state,

And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries,

And look upon myself and curse my fate,

O Solitude! if I must with thee dwell

by John Keats

‘O Solitude! if I must with thee dwell’ by John Keats is a fourteen-line sonnet that is contained within one block of text. It expresses the speaker’s intention to find somewhere peaceful, in a valley, amongst trees, bees, and deer to live out his days.

As is immediately evident through the capitalization of solitude, the speaker is going to be addressing the force as a feature of the world with an agency all its own, almost as if it is a person. The speaker, though he feels loneliness, retreats into nature, realizing that he is surrounded by all sorts of life.

O Solitude! if I must with thee dwell,

Let it not be among the jumbled heap

Of murky buildings; climb with me the steep,—

Nature’s observatory—whence the dell,


by Maya Angelou

‘Alone’ by Maya Angelou is a moving poem. It explores the topics of solitude and loneliness in a way that all readers should be able to relate to.

Throughout this poem, the speaker repeats the phrase, "no one can get through life alone." The simple power of this verse, in its attempt to capture the despair that goes hand-in-hand with loneliness, reminds the listener that human beings are social animals who sometimes need a shoulder to cry on.

Lying, thinking

Last night

How to find my soul a home

Where water is not thirsty

Danse Russe

by William Carlos Williams

Danse Russe by William Carlos Williams is a lighthearted poem in which the poet dances naked before a mirror. The poet, as he dances, admires himself and his own company, relishing his loneliness.

If loneliness is eating at your heart, 'Danse Russe' is a potent cure. With its laughable subject matter and lighthearted approach to solitude, Williams emphasizes that loneliness can be a good thing if you can learn to keep yourself company.

If I when my wife is sleeping

and the baby and Kathleen

are sleeping

and the sun is a flame-white disc

l(a (A Leaf Falls with Loneliness)

by E.E. Cummings
The lack of completion of words and the use of incomplete phrases in this brief poem allows the reader to feel an absence, reflecting the theme of loneliness. As such, while this poem illustrates the difficult parts of being alone, it also celebrates the complex, beautiful feelings that come with solitude.




Talking in Bed

by Philip Larkin

‘Talking in Bed’ by Philip Larkin depicts the difficulties a speaker has talking in bed with his lover. It’s a poem about how loneliness can invade even the most initmate moments.

In this poem, the speaker expresses their loneliness, even though they are not physically alone. Larkin knows that exposing oneself physically and emotionally to another person should bring out one’s most honest self, but that is not the case. Instead, confusion, distrust, and fear can isolate us - even if we have someone sitting right beside us.

Talking in bed ought to be easiest,

Lying together there goes back so far,

An emblem of two people being honest.

Yet more and more time passes silently.

Acquainted with the Night

by Robert Frost

‘Acquainted with the Night’ by Robert Frost is a personal poem that deals with themes of depression. It’s told, perhaps, from the poet’s own perspective.

At first glance, the diction Frost uses in his title is curious. The word acquainted indicates that the speaker is familiar with the night, but it does not mean that the speaker knows the night well, nor does it indicate that he particularly likes the night. This relationship stresses the speaker's loneliness as he moves through life detached.

I have been one acquainted with the night.

I have walked out in rain—and back in rain.

I have outwalked the furthest city light.

Ode on Solitude

by Alexander Pope

‘Ode on Solitude’ by Alexander Pope is a beautiful and peaceful poem. It asserts a speaker’s desire to live a good, simple life and go unnoticed by the world.

When Pope wrote this celebration of loneliness, he had the idea of solitude in mind, as do a great many poets who express themselves best through the written word, and perhaps less so in the company of others. Solitude itself is an important thing to attain from time to time, and perhaps it makes sense to think of one of Pope’s oldest poems as being about a very basic human desire and its benefits.

Happy the man, whose wish and care

A few paternal acres bound,

Content to breathe his native air,

In his own ground.

Mr. Flood’s Party

by Edwin Arlington Robinson

‘Mr. Flood’s Party’ by Edwin Arlington Robinson describes a man’s later years in life and how lonely he has become. It suggests that a long life is not always a blessing. 

Mr. Flood is alone in the world, having outlived everyone he loved. He gets very little consolation or closure by the end of this poem. However, a glimmer of joy exists in his memories of the past from when his friends were still alive and with him.

Old Eben Flood, climbing alone one night

Over the hill between the town below

And the forsaken upland hermitage

That held as much as he should ever know

Explore more poems about Loneliness


by Jean Bleakney

Jean Bleakney’s ‘Consolidation’ is a deeply personal poem about the act of rearranging the cowry shells that the speaker and her children gathered in the past.

This piece revolves around a lonely mother who wishes to consolidate the old memories that pull her back and make her emotional.

Some sunny, empty afternoon

I’ll pool our decade’s worth

and more of cowrie shells

gathered from that gravel patch


by Lord Byron

‘Solitude’ describes how a person can feel content and supported in nature, yet isolated and alone when surrounded by other people.

Loneliness is the poem's primary preoccupation, but Byron's attitude towards it is fairly unconventional as he is less concerned with physical isolation than he is in inner solitude, which can occur anywhere.

To sit on rocks, to muse o'er flood and fell,

To slowly trace the forest's shady scene,

Where things that own not man's dominion dwell,

And mortal foot hath ne'er or rarely been;

The Young Housewife

by William Carlos Williams

‘The Young Housewife’ by William Carlos Williams is a short poem that intimately envisions a few moments in the life of a lonely woman confined to her home.

Another major topic touched on within the poem is loneliness. The most obvious portrayal of that is the housewife, who appears emotionally estranged from both her husband and home. But the speaker is also a contender for being lonely as well. After all, this is possibly why they characterize the housewife in such a way either projecting their feelings onto her or perceiving them through empathy.

At ten a.m. the young housewife

moves about in negligee behind

the wooden walls of her husband’s house.

I pass solitary in my car.

After Killing a Spider

by Masaoka Shiki

‘After Killing a Spider’ by Masaoka Shiki is a thoughtful poem. It describes the negative and dark effects of killing a spider.

The act of killing the spider has caused the speaker to feel isolated and alone with their thoughts and emotions. The cold of the night serves make the speaker feel even more vulnerable and exposed.

After killing

a spider, how lonely I feel

The childless woman

by Hattori Ransetsu

‘The childless woman’ by Hattori Ransetsu is a beautifully emotional poem about a childless woman longing to have real children.

This poem touches on loneliness through the portrayal of the woman's childless state. The absence of children may contribute to a sense of isolation and a longing for companionship and connection. The poem suggests that the woman finds solace in her interactions with dolls, providing some respite from her loneliness.

The childless woman,

How tender she is

To the dolls!

Aunt Helen

by T.S. Eliot

‘Aunt Helen’ presents a strange elegy that, in a detached tone, paints the world’s indifference instead of lamenting death.

'Aunt Helen' connotes the loneliness of Helen when she was alive, as her death does not impact the indifferent people around her. Moreover, even her full name, "Miss Helen Slingsby," conveys that she was single and lived alone with her servants and pets. The indifferent behavior of her servants post her death indicates the lack of human connection with them, while she seemed to share a bond with animals amidst her loneliness.

Miss Helen Slingsby was my maiden aunt,

And lived in a small house near a fashionable square

Cared for by servants to the number of four.

Now when she died there was silence in heaven


by T.S. Eliot

‘Preludes’ is a chilling exploration of life amidst urban decay, alienation, and absence of meaning in the dark modern world.

'Preludes' presents the decayed urban life which lacks spirituality, meaning, and genuine human connections as the isolated individuals carry on their monotonous daily routines. The poem exudes an immense sense of loneliness through the imagery of broken blinds, empty streets, and individuals enclosed in furnished rooms. Alienated individuals lacking human connections go through "infinite suffering" with their "sordid souls" in a wretched modern world.

The winter evening settles down

With smell of steaks in passageways.

Six o’clock.

The burnt-out ends of smoky days.

The Waste Land

by T.S. Eliot

‘The Waste Land,’ epitomizing literary modernism, is one of the most important poems of the 20th century portraying its despondent mood in a new form.

The poem significantly deals with the alienation or loneliness of hopeless individuals in a fragmented and desolate modern world. The relations are loveless, and individuals talk past each other while conversing, unable to strike a connection

April is the cruellest month, breeding

Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing

Memory and desire, stirring

Dull roots with spring rain.

Everything I touch

by Kobayashi Issa

‘Everything I touch’ by Kobayashi Issa is a beautiful Japanese haiku written by one of the four great haiku masters. This piece speaks on what one might receive in return when they reach out with tenderness.

The poem evokes a sense of loneliness and isolation, despite the speaker's efforts to reach out and connect with the world around them. The pain of the bramble suggests that even when we try to touch the world with tenderness, we may still feel alone and misunderstood.

Everything I touch

with tenderness, alas,

pricks like a bramble

The Solitary Reaper

by William Wordsworth

“The Solitary Reaper” by William Wordsworth is a recollection of the poet’s emotional experience as he listens to a woman singing in the fields.

Behold her, single in the field,

Yon solitary Highland Lass!

Reaping and singing by herself;

Stop here, or gently pass!

Dear Dr. Frankenstein

by Jericho Brown

‘Dear Dr. Frankenstein’ is a warning against the dangers of scientific and intellectual arrogance told as a letter to the fictional doctor.

The narrator appeals to Frankenstein in a way that implies they understand his plight, which emphasizes his loneliness up to that point. Brown uses the poem to contemplate the inevitability of loneliness for great thinkers and scientists, for nobody will ever truly understand them.

I, too, know the science of building men

Out of fragments in little light

Where I'll be damned if lightning don't

At that hour when all things have repose

by James Joyce

‘At that hour when all things have repose’ by James Joyce is a lyrical poem that explores themes of lovelorn solitude and the sublime beauty of music.

One of the topics that James Joyce's poem touches on is a potent sense of loneliness that's created by the onset of night. This solitude appears throughout the poems of 'Chamber Music' and features as a prominent motif in the collection. Here, this melancholic isolation is rendered sublime by the auditory imagery of the music.

At that hour when all things have repose,

O lonely watcher of the skies,

Do you hear the night wind and the sighs

Of harps playing unto Love to unclose

New York

by Léopold Sédar Senghor

‘New York’ by Léopold Sédar Senghor serves as a call to action for the city’s people to uplift and absorb as a means of rejuvenation its Black citizenry.

Loneliness is presented as one of the side effects of the city's growing spiritual deterioration. Senghor's powerful descriptions paint a portrait of a city majestic but cold, evoking the same feeling one might have to view the revitalized ruins of an ancient civilization. This results in this permeating atmosphere of loneliness that spreads throughout the poem.

New York! At first I was bewildered by your beauty,

Those huge, long-legged, golden girls.

So shy, at first, before your blue metallic eyes and icy smile,

So shy. And full of despair at the end of skyscraper streets

She Dwelt among the Untrodden Ways

by William Wordsworth

‘She Dwelt among the Untrodden Ways’ was written in 1798. This poem is Wordsworth’s best known work from a series of five texts that form his “Lucy” series.

Both Lucy and the speaker embody different kinds of loneliness. Lucy's is geographical and social—she is physically removed from society and unloved by it. The speaker's loneliness is emotional, stemming from the loss of the one person who mattered deeply to him.

She dwelt among the untrodden ways

Beside the springs of Dove,

A Maid whom there were none to praise

And very few to love:

The Eagle

by Alfred Lord Tennyson

‘The Eagle’ is a powerful poem that captures the majesty and strength of the majestic bird, inspiring readers to reach for the heights of their own potential.

The eagle is described as "lonely," emphasizing its solitude. This theme of isolation is a common one in Romantic poetry, which often emphasizes the individual's struggle to connect with others and find meaning in life.

He clasps the crag with crooked hands; 

Close to the sun in lonely lands, 

Ring'd with the azure world, he stands.

I’ll Open the Window

by Anna Swir

‘I’ll Open the Window’ is a passionate piece written by Anna Swir that offers a raw and natural post romantic breakup statement.

The poem touches on the loneliness and isolation that often accompanies the end of a relationship. Swir's vivid descriptions of the speaker's surroundings highlight her disconnection from the world around her.

Our embrace lasted too long.

We loved right down to the bone.

I hear the bones grind, I see

our two skeletons.


by Tanya Markul

‘Eleven’ by Tanya Markul is a short but deeply affecting poem that serves as a reminder that human connection is often the difficult but sole way to experience healing.

Loneliness is also important in Markul's poem, which is presented as the consequence of such pain. In the context of the poem, it is not just an isolating force, though, but one that seems to mark one as out of place. There is a branding effect to pain, whether imagined or real, that keeps us from connecting with others in its aftermath.

The pain

that made you

the odd one out

is the story

The Double Shame

by Stephen Spender

‘The Double Shame’ by Stephen Spender conveys a depiction of what the world feels like when one loses a very important person in their life. Everything is transformed in a way that makes a living from day to day difficult. 

The person referred to as 'you" in the poem is surely lonely and spends their days dwelling in their isolation.

You must live though the time when everything hurts

When the space of the ripe, loaded afternoon

Expands to a landscape of white heat frozen

And trees are weighed down with hearts of stone

The Lesson

by Paul Laurence Dunbar

‘The Lesson’ by Paul Laurence Dunbar hones in on the power of empathy to soothe not just the woes of others but also ourselves.

Loneliness is one of the emotions the speaker is afflicted by at the beginning of the poem. But in composing a song for another, they establish a connection with a complete stranger through their empathy. In doing so, they alleviate their sadness but also their loneliness. Dunbar's poem reveals the way art can help us feel more interconnected with one another.

My cot was down by a cypress grove,

And I sat by my window the whole night long,

And heard well up from the deep dark wood

A mocking-bird's passionate song.

Don’t kill yourself today

by Hannah Dains

‘Don’t kill yourself today’ by Hannah Dains is a thoughtful and powerful poem about suicide. The poet explores all the reasons someone has to stay alive and expresses her love for those struggling with depression.

The poem offers a sense of connection and encouragement to the reader. It acknowledges that suicide might seem like the only option, but reminds the reader that they are loved and that their life is important.

Don’t kill yourself today

Because your Netflix free trial still has a week left.

Don’t kill yourself today

because no one else will finish off the chicken in the fridge.