7 Classic Poems About Friendship

Poetry And Friendship

Friendship, a theme that comes under the broader theme of love repeatedly throughout poetic history. Whether it’s flowing verse or humorous rhymes, friendship is portrayed time and time again by poets across the globe.

American poet, Robert Frost, expresses the value of his friendships through this short poem. It details his efforts to prioritise time to talk with friends over his work.

A Time to Talk

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
On all the hills I haven’t hoed,
And shout from where I am, ‘What is it?’
No, not as there is a time to talk.
I thrust my hoe in the mellow ground,
Blade-end up and five feet tall,
And plod: I go up to the stone wall
For a friendly visit.

William Blake, the historic English poet, paints wonderful imagery to help show the importance of being open with our friends in his poem ‘A Poison Tree’. His use of metaphor demonstrates the importance of letting go of hard feelings you may harbour to help preserve a friendship, or run the risk of killing a friendship altogether.

A Poison Tree

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.

Before a friendship develops, most people are strangers. Henry David Thoreau captures how two strangers can become best friends through this poem:

I Knew A Man By Sight

I knew a man by sight,
A blameless wight,
Who, for a year or more,
Had daily passed my door,
Yet converse none had had with him.

I met him in a lane,
Him and his cane,
About three miles from home,
Where I had chanced to roam,
And volumes stared at him, and he at me.

In a more distant place
I glimpsed his face,
And bowed instinctively;
Starting he bowed to me,
Bowed simultaneously, and passed along.

Next, in a foreign land
I grasped his hand,
And had a social chat,
About this thing and that,
As I had known him well a thousand years.

Late in a wilderness
I shared his mess,
For he had hardships seen,
And I a wanderer been;
He was my bosom friend, and I was his.

And as, methinks, shall all,
Both great and small,
That ever lived on earth,
Early or late their birth,
Stranger and foe, one day each other know.

Good friends are a priceless addition to ones life, but to have good friends we must be good friends. Gillian Jones demonstrates this through a poem written for her friend Ian. She poetically lists all the wonderful qualities about him, but also reminds us: “Do not expect to just take and hold / Give friendship back, it is pure gold.”

A Friend

A person who will listen and not condemn
Someone on whom you can depend
They will not flee when bad times are here
Instead they will be there to lend an ear
They will think of ways to make you smile
So you can be happy for a while
When times are good and happy there after
They will be there to share the laughter
Do not forget your friends at all
For they pick you up when you fall
Do not expect to just take and hold
Give friendship back, it is pure gold.

Angelica N. Brissett highlights the importance of friendship further. Her light-hearted rhyme emphasises how a friend can support you through the harder times in your life and provide you with a shoulder to cry on.

Friends for Life

We are Friends
I got your back
You got mine,
I’ll help you out
Anytime!
To see you hurt
To see you cry
Makes me weep
And wanna die
And if you agree
To never fight
It wouldn’t matter
Who’s wrong or right
If a broken heart
Needs a mend
I’ll be right there
Till the end
If your cheeks are wet
From drops of tears
Don’t worry
Let go of your fears
Hand in hand
Love is sent,
We’ll be friends
Till the end!!!!

William Shakespeare also wrote on friendship through this poetry. In his ‘Sonnet 104’ he talks about the way in which friendship can transcend time – he puts forward the idea that strong friendships will weather time, despite the season.

Sonnet 104

To me, fair friend, you never can be old,
For as you were when first your eye I eyed,
Such seems your beauty still. Three winters cold
Have from the forests shook three summers’ pride;
Three beauteous springs to yellow autumn turned
In process of the seasons have I seen;
Three April pérfumes in three hot Junes burned,
Since first I saw you fresh, which yet are green.
Ah yet doth beauty, like a dial hand,
Steal from his figure, and no pace perceived;
So your sweet hue, which methinks still doth stand,
Hath motion, and mine eye may be deceived.
For fear of which, hear this, thou age unbred:
Ere you were born was beauty’s summer dead.

What about the friendship of a lover? American author and poet, Ella Wheeler Wilcox, explores the importance of friendship in a relationship and how a couple can miss their friendship when love breaks down.

Friendship After Love

After the fierce midsummer all ablaze
Has burned itself to ashes, and expires
In the intensity of its own fires,
There come the mellow, mild, St.
Martin days
Crowned with the calm of peace, but sad with haze.

So after Love has led us, till he tires
Of his own throes, and torments, and desires,
Comes large-eyed Friendship: with a restful gaze.

He beckons us to follow, and across
Cool verdant vales we wander free from care.

Is it a touch of frost lies in the air?
Why are we haunted with a sense of loss?
We do not wish the pain back, or the heat;
And yet, and yet, these days are incomplete.

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