As Waltern Winchell once said, “A real friend is one who walks in when the rest of the world walks out.” It can be difficult to find a truly good friend, so if you ever get lucky enough to find one, it’s important that you do your best to keep them.
Real friends deserve to be appreciated and told how important they are. Poetry is a great way to express your feelings. Whether you’d like to speak of romantic love or any other love, a poem can be quite a creative and heartwarming expression.
Try borrowing the words of famous poets in telling your friend how much he/she means to you.
“Your Catfish Friend” by Richard Brautigan
Richard Brautigan began to gain popularity in the 1960s, when he published some of his most popular work. You may find this poem quite eccentric, but it tells of the unconditional dedication of a true friend.
Here’s an excerpt:
|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…
You can read the full poem here.
“Hug O’ War” by Shel Silverstein
Such a silly poem this is by Shel Silverstein about friendship. It can be quite cute but still quite genuine.
|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.
“On the Friendship betwixt Two Ladies” by Edmund Waller
Waller was one of the wittiest minor poets of the seventeenth century. His poem “On the Friendship betwixt Two Ladies” honors the close friendship between two ladies but also hints that they are perhaps too close, and kept themselves from boys.
|Tell me, lovely, loving pair!|
Why so kind, and so severe?
Why so careless of our care,
Only to yourselves so dear?
By this cunning change of hearts,
You the power of love control;
While the boy’s eluded darts
Can arrive at neither soul.
For in vain to either breast
Still beguiled love does come,
Where he finds a foreign guest,
Neither of your hearts at home.
Debtors thus with like design,
When they never mean to pay,
That they may the law decline,
To some friend make all away.
Not the silver doves that fly,
Yoked in Cytherea’s car;
Not the wings that lift so high,
And convey her son so far;
Are so lovely, sweet, and fair,
Or do more ennoble love;
Are so choicely matched a pair,
Or with more consent do move.
“Us Two” by A.A. Milne
Who can be a better example of a good friend than sweet Winnie the Pooh? This poem, from Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne, shows that having a friend beside you bestows strength and courage. A friend takes away the fear we experience when we’re alone.
Here’s an excerpt from 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.
“The Friend” by Matt Hart
Matt Hart is the author of five books of poems and his poems, reviews, and essays have appeared in numerous print and online journals, including Big Bell and Cincinnati Review.
This poem about friendship tells us how friends can be unapologetic in making their presence known and felt. Here’s an excerpt:
|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 the full text here.
“Red Brocade” by Naomi Shihab Nye
A poem about friendship and hospitality, “Red Brocade” is written by Naomi Shihab Nye, born to a Palestinian refugee father and an American mother of German and Swiss descent.
|The Arabs used to say,|
When a stranger appears at your door,
feed him for three days
before asking who he is…
Find the full poem here.
“To my Excellent Lucasia, on our Friendship” by Katherine Philips
Katherine Philips is best known for her poems on female friendship. She wrote “To my Excellent Lucasia, on our Friendship” for Anne Owen, viscountess of Dungannon.
|I did not live until this time|
Crown’d my felicity,
When I could say without a crime,
I am not thine, but thee.
This carcass breath’d, and walkt, and slept,
So that the world believe’d
There was a soul the motions kept;
But they were all deceiv’d.
For as a watch by art is wound
To motion, such was mine:
But never had Orinda found
A soul till she found thine;
Which now inspires, cures and supplies,
And guides my darkened breast:
For thou art all that I can prize,
My joy, my life, my rest.
No bridegroom’s nor crown-conqueror’s mirth
To mine compar’d can be:
They have but pieces of the earth,
I’ve all the world in thee.
Then let our flames still light and shine,
And no false fear controul,
As innocent as our design,
Immortal as our soul.
“A Walk in the Cemetery” by Gary Soto
Gary Soto is a poet, novelist, and children’s author born in Fresno, California. This poem talks about the heartbreak of losing a good friend.
|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,
And he is not earth,
But a memory…
Find the full text here.
“To My Oldest Friend, Whose Silence Is Like a Death” by Lloyd Schwartz
Lloyd Schwartz was born in Brooklyn, New York. He is called “the master of the poetic one-liner” by the New York Times. A sentimental poem, “To My Oldest Friend, Whose Silence Is Like a Death” is written in couplets with the occasional one off line that talks about being ghosted by a friend.
|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 the full text here.
“A Poison Tree” by William Blake
‘Christian Forbearance’ is the original title William Blake gave this poem. The speaker of the poem tells us the difference between how he is angry with his friend and with his enemy. It shows how we can easily tell our friends if we are offended while choose to harbor bad feelings against an enemy.
|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 veild the pole;
In the morning glad I see;
My foe outstretched beneath the tree.
“Hoping to Hear from a Former Friend” by Margaret Hasse
“Hoping to Hear from a Former Friend” by Margaret Hasse is another poem about losing contact with a friend and how much it hurts just as much as losing a boyfriend or girlfriend.
|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 the full text here.
“A Dog Has Died” by Pablo Neruda
Pablo Neruda was awarded a Nobel Prize for Literature in 1971. This poem talks about losing a furry friend, which can hurt just as much, if not more, than losing a human one.
Here’s an excerpt:
|His friendship for me, like that of a porcupine|
withholding its authority,
was the friendship of a star…
Read the full text here.
“Friendship” by Henry David Thoreau
Henry David Thoreau describes in this poem the vastness of love. “Friendship” presents a reflection on the nature, beauty, and power of friendship.
| I think awhile of Love, and while I think,|
Love is to me a world,
Sole meat and sweetest drink,
And close connecting link
‘Tween heaven and earth.
I only know it is, not how or why,
My greatest happiness;
However hard I try,
Not if I were to die,
Can I explain.
I fain would ask my friend how it can be,
But when the time arrives,
Then Love is more lovely
Than anything to me,
And so I’m dumb.
For if the truth were known, Love cannot speak,
But only thinks and does;
Though surely out ’twill leak
Without the help of Greek,
Or any tongue.
A man may love the truth and practise it,
Beauty he may admire,
And goodness not omit,
As much as may befit
But only when these three together meet,
As they always incline,
And make one soul the seat,
And favourite retreat,
When under kindred shape, like loves and hates
And a kindred nature,
Proclaim us to be mates,
Exposed to equal fates
And each may other help, and service do,
Drawing Love’s bands more tight,
Service he ne’er shall rue
While one and one make two,
And two are one;
In such case only doth man fully prove
Fully as man can do,
What power there is in Love
His inmost soul to move
Two sturdy oaks I mean, which side by side,
Withstand the winter’s storm,
And spite of wind and tide,
Grow up the meadow’s pride,
For both are strong.
Above they barely touch, but undermined
Down to their deepest source,
Admiring you shall find
Their roots are intertwined
“My First Best Friend” by Jack Prelutsky
Jack Prelutsky served as the Poetry Foundation’s Children’s Poet Laureate and is a creator of inventive poems for children and adults alike. This poem talks about the kinds of friends we don’t want to end up with.
|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.
Enjoy the full text here.
“Love and Friendship” by Emily Brontë
Emily Brontë speaks of how fragile romantic love can be, but how constant and dependable friendship is.
|Love is like the wild rose-briar,|
Friendship like the holly-tree—
The holly is dark when the rose-briar blooms
But which will bloom most constantly?
The wild rose-briar is sweet in spring,
Its summer blossoms scent the air;
Yet wait till winter comes again
And who will call the wild-briar fair?
Then scorn the silly rose-wreath now
And deck thee with the holly’s sheen,
That when December blights thy brow
He still may leave thy garland green.
“I Should Not Dare to Leave My Friend” by Emily Dickinson
In this poem, Emily Dickinson makes us think of the important things about the relationship and forget the petty. What if a loved one who needed your friendship and support spent their dying hours without your help and comfort? This poem makes us think about the value of ‘being there’ as a friend.
| I should not dare to leave my friend,|
Because—because if he should die
While I was gone—and I—too late—
Should reach the Heart that wanted me—
If I should disappoint the eyes
That hunted—hunted so—to see—
And could not bear to shut until
They ‘noticed’ me—they noticed me—
If I should stab the patient faith
So sure I’d come—so sure I’d come—
It listening—listening—went to sleep—
Telling my tardy name—
My Heart would wish it broke before—
Since breaking then—since breaking then—
Were useless as next morning’s sun—
Where midnight frosts—had lain!
Poems for Friends
You can express your affection through loving touch, thoughtful presents, and even with ardent gestures. Most of all, try borrowing the words of the experts and send love your friend’s way.
It also helps to have a basic understanding of a poem’s structure so you can choose the best poem that works for you. Check out our tips on how to analyze a poem so you can gain an even deeper understanding of these words.
Which of these poems makes you want to call your bestfriend? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
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