20 Friendship Poems To Brighten Your Day

Elisa Shoenberger


Elisa Shoenberger has been building a library since she was 13. She loves writing about all aspects of books from author interviews, antiquarian books, archives, and everything in between. She also writes regularly for Murder & Mayhem and Library Journal. She's also written articles for Huffington Post, Boston Globe, WIRED, Slate, and many other publications. When she's not writing about reading, she's reading and adventuring to find cool new art. She also plays alto saxophone and occasionally stiltwalks. Find out more on her website or follow her on Twitter @vogontroubadour.

Studies have shown that loneliness can be detrimental to health. Back in 2017, the Telegraph UK reported, “Researchers in the U.S. looked at 218 studies into the health effects of social isolation and loneliness involving nearly four million people. They discovered that lonely people had a 50 per cent increased risk of early death, compared to those with good social connections. In contrast, obesity raises the chance of dying before the age of 70 by around 30 per cent.”

Friends and family are important to our wellbeing. However, there are a plethora of poems about family members so I decided to focus on the harder task: poems about friendship. I’ve compiled a list of 20 friendship poems in honor of those people who keep the loneliness away. These poems come from a variety of eras and viewpoints and include themes of friends lost, friends to the world, and also bad friends. This list is by no means exhaustive; it’s a list of poems that I liked that brought out different aspects of friendship.

Some friendship poems are longer than others, so I included the first few lines but you’ll have to go to the link to read the rest of the poem.

20 great friendship poems to make your day -- and your bestie's day. poems | poetry | friendship poems | poems about friends | poems about friendship

The Best Friendship Poems

Having a Coke with You by Frank O’Hara

“is even more fun than going to San Sebastian, Irún, Hendaye, Biarritz, Bayonne

or being sick to my stomach on the Travesera de Gracia in Barcelona

partly because in your orange shirt you look like a better happier St. Sebastian

partly because of my love for you, partly because of your love for yoghurt…”

(Read more at the link)

Having a Coke with You could be interpreted as romantic love but I always read it as a Sharing a Coke with You, Friend.

A Love Letter to My Best Friend by Andrew Warner

This video is a beautiful letter to a friend about mental illness.

Tug o’ War by Shel Silverstein

I love the silliness of Shel Silverstein and all of his poems.

“I will not play at tug o’ war.
I’d rather play at hug o’ war,
Where everyone hugs
Instead of tugs,
Where everyone giggles
And rolls on the rug,
Where everyone kisses,
And everyone grins,
And everyone cuddles,
And everyone wins”

A poision tree by William Blake

Because William Blake.

“I was angry with my friend:
I told my wrath, my wrath did end.
I was angry with my foe:
I told it not, my wrath did grow.

And I waterd it in fears
Night & morning with my tears;
And I sunned it with smiles,
And with soft deceitful wiles.

And it grew both day and night,
Till it bore an apple bright.
And my foe beheld it shine,
And he knew that it was mine,

And into my garden stole,
When the night had veiled the pole;
In the morning glad I see
My foe outstretchd beneath the tree.”

Related: 25 Literary Friendship Quotes

Us Two by A.A. Milne

Also, a list of friendship poems would be remiss without Winnie the Pooh.

“Wherever I am, there’s always Pooh,
There’s always Pooh and Me.
Whatever I do, he wants to do,
“Where are you going today?” says Pooh:
“Well, that’s very odd ‘cos I was too.
Let’s go together,” says Pooh, says he.
“Let’s go together,” says Pooh…”

(Read more at the link)

To all my friends by May Yang

“That I could be this human at this time

breathing, looking, seeing, smelling

That I could be this moment at this time

resting, calmly moving, feeling

That I could be this excellence at this time

sudden, changed, peaceful, & woke…”

(Read more at the link)

Your Catfish Friend by Richard Brautigan

A charming poem about a person contemplating being a catfish in a pond.

“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”

(Read more at the link)

The Friend By Matt Hart

This poem reminds me of my childhood summers in Chicago.

“The friend lives half in the grass

and half in the chocolate cake,

walks over to your house in the bashful light

of November, or the forceful light of summer.

You put your hand on her shoulder,

or you put your hand on his shoulder.”

(Read more at the link)

friendship poems

Friends to the World

Here are two poems about friends with people we don’t know, our fellow humankind.

I Want to Apologize By Rupi Kuar

I included this one since I feel it speaks to friendship with women.

The Pin

Red Brocade by Naomi Shibab Nye

A poem about the importance of friendship with guests.

“The Arabs used to say,
When a stranger appears at your door,
feed him for three days
before asking who he is…”

(Read more at the link)

Lost Friends

The next set of poems are about friends who are lost to death or time.

Poem by Langston Hughes

I love the beautiful simplicity of this poem.

“I loved my friend

He went away from me

There’s nothing more to say

The poem ends,

Soft as it began-

I loved my friend.”

Overnight by John Yau

“In Memory of Paul Violi (1944–2011)

I did not realize that you were fading from sight
I don’t believe I could have helped with the transition

You most likely would have made a joke of it
Did you hear about the two donkeys stuck in an airshaft”

(Read more at the link)

A Walk in the Cemetery by Gary Soto

In memory of David Ruenzel, 1954–2014

I searched for twenty minutes
For my murdered friend’s grave,
A small, white marker,
# 356 it reads. He is not
This number, or any number…”

(Read more at the link)

To My Oldest Friend, Whose Silence Is Like a Death by Lloyd Schwartz

“In today’s paper, a story about our high school drama
teacher evicted from his Carnegie Hall rooftop apartment

made me ache to call you—the only person I know
who’d still remember his talent, his good looks, his self-

absorption. We’d laugh (at what haven’t we laughed?), then
not laugh, wondering what became of him. But I can’t call…”

(Read more at the link)

Hoping to Hear from a Former Friend By Margaret Hasse

“Is it you on the other end of the line
hesitant to speak to me, pausing for a moment
to register my hello so you know my number
stayed the same, my last name remains mine?”

(Read more at the link)

Friendship Poems about our best canine friends

Since I am a dog lover and dog is humankind’s best animal friend, I naturally had to include some poems on the topic. Note: some are sad poems about lost friends.

A Dog Has Died By Pablo Neruda

Any excuse for Neruda.

“My dog has died.
I buried him in the garden
next to a rusted old machine.

Some day I’ll join him right there…”

(Read more at the link)

Dog Music By Paul Zimmer

I can attest personally that dogs can be singers (especially when I’m playing my alto saxophone).

“Amongst dogs are listeners and singers.
My big dog sang with me so purely,
puckering her ruffled lips into an O,
beginning with small, swallowing sounds
like Coltrane musing, then rising to power…”

(Read more at the link)

Worst Friends

Now some poems about terrible friends since we’ve all been there and done that. Hopefully these will serve as warnings for us in the future.

How to Murder Your Best Friend by Anonymous

“With poisoned apple, comb, ring, garment,

word in ear

How heavy she’ll be when I carry her stretched on my arms…”

(Read more at the link)

My First Best Friend By Jack Prelutsky

“My first best friend is Awful Ann—
she socked me in the eye.
My second best is Sneaky Sam—
he tried to swipe my pie.
My third best friend is Max the Rat—
he trampled on my toes.
My fourth best friend is Nasty Nell—
She almost broke my nose…”

(Read more at the link)

The Walrus and the Carpenter by Lewis Carroll

I had to have something from Lewis Carroll on this list. An important poem about not making the wrong kind of friends.

“The sun was shining on the sea,
Shining with all his might:
He did his very best to make
The billows smooth and bright —
And this was odd, because it was
The middle of the night…”

(Read more at the link)

Read Next: 58 Beautiful Love Poems

These are twenty friendship poems that look at different aspects of friendship. Want more poetry? Check out this post on short poems and this other post on love poems.