17 Poems About Friendship That Transcend Social Distance
Poems To Send To Friends
A million “I love you’s” will never properly convey how much I cherish my friends. In 2021, my gratitude for them has reached new levels as we’re navigating a virtual world. Hearts need holding, anger calls for conversation, sorrow ignites sharing, and not one of us is leaving this time period unchanged. All of this without being able to reach out and touch a hand, hug a shoulder, or wipe a tear from a grieving face.
So how do you bridge the space between? How do you celebrate togetherness without gathering? I’ve been turning to reading and writing poetry. Its offerings help me remember what it’s like to be in physical community with my long-distance friends. I’m seeking solace in poetry when loneliness comes calling, and allowing each stanza to nourish me with hope during this heavy moment.
If you’re feeling alone right now, that’s okay. Loneliness happens more easily as the seasons start to grow a little colder, a little darker, so reach out for support if you can (here are some affordable online therapy options). If you’re not lonely, consider someone who might be feeling that way and connect for a conversation.
Below, you’ll find 17 poems about friendship that are warming my heart or moving me to action right now. Spanning loss, celebration, and revolution, these poems remind me that we are all stronger together. Many are just excerpts, so be sure to click through to read the poems in their entirety. Sit with them, meditate on them, and share them with your loved ones. And when you’re done, share your favorite poems about friendship in the comments below. 💛
1. Alone by Maya Angelou
How to find my soul a home
Where water is not thirsty
And bread loaf is not stone
I came up with one thing
And I don’t believe I’m wrong
Can make it out here alone.”
2. In The Company Of Women by January Gill-O’Neil
“Make me laugh over coffee,
make it a double, make it frothy
so it seethes in our delight.
Make my cup overflow
with your small happiness.
I want to hoot and snort and cackle and chuckle.
Let your laughter fill me like a bell.
Let me listen to your ringing and singing
as Billie Holiday croons above our heads.”
3. What is the greatest gift? by Mary Oliver
“What is the greatest gift?
Could it be the world itself—the oceans, the meadowlark,
the patience of the trees in the wind?
Could it be love, with its sweet clamor of passion?
Something else—something else entirely
holds me in thrall.
That you have a life that I wonder about
more than I wonder about my own.“
4. To All My Friends by HAUNTIE
“To all my friends who have been with me in weakness
when water falls rush down my two sides
To all my friends who have felt me in anguish
when this earthen back breaks between the crack of two blades
To all my friends who have held me in rage
when fire tears through swallows behind tight grins
I know you
I see you
I hear you“
5. My Friends by Ali Power
“why be evasive
when you can listen to an audio book
about a biologist
on a mysterious expedition
to Area X
an area cut off from civilization
today I’ve spoken to no one
and I feel fine
but feelings aren’t facts my friends
and I’ve eaten the last of the cheese
and table water crackers
and I have no salary
but I will hold you”
6. Sybil by Julia Ward Howe
“Your head is wild with books, Sybil,
But your heart is good and kind—
I feel a new contentment near you,
A pleasure of the mind.
Glad should I be to sit beside you,
And let long hours glide by,
Reading, through all your sweet narrations,
The language of your eye.”
7. On Friendship by Khalil Gibran
“And a youth said, Speak to us of Friendship.
And he answered, saying:
Your friend is your needs answered.
He is your field which you sow with love and reap with thanksgiving.
And he is your board and your fireside.
For you come to him with your hunger, and you seek him for peace.”
8. Red Brocade by Naomi Shihab Nye
“The Arabs used to say,
When a stranger appears at your door,
feed him for three days
before asking who he is,
where he’s come from,
where he’s headed.
That way, he’ll have strength
enough to answer.
Or, by then you’ll be
such good friends
you don’t care.”
9. 1383 by Emily Dickinson
“Long Years apart – can make no
Breach a second cannot fill –
The absence of the Witch does not
Invalidate the spell –
The embers of a Thousand Years
Uncovered by the Hand
That fondled them when they were Fire
Will stir and understand –“
10. acknowledgments by Danez Smith
“at the function, i feel myself splitting into too many rooms of static
you touch my hand & there i am
do you want to be best friends?
a box for yes, a box for no”
11. Comrades Four by Claude McKay
“Dear comrades, my comrades,
My heart is always true;
An’ ever an’ ever
I shall remember you.
We all joined together,
Together joined we four;
An’ I have been first to
Pass t’rough the open door.“
12. Love and Friendship by Emily Bronte
“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?“
13. A Time To Talk by Robert Frost
“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.”
14. i want to apologize by rupi kaur
“i want to apologize to all the women i have called beautiful
before i’ve called them intelligent or brave
i am sorry i made it sound as though
something as simple as what you’re born with
is all you have to be proud of
when you have broken mountains with your wit
from now on i will say things like
you are resilient, or you are extraordinary
not because i don’t think you’re beautiful
but because i need you to know
you are more than that.”
15. To The Oppressors by Pauli Murray
“Now you are strong
And we are but grapes aching with ripeness.
Squeeze from us all the brave life
Contained in these full skins.
But ours is a subtle strength
Potent with centuries of yearning,
Of being kegged and shut away
In dark forgotten places.
We shall endure
To steal your senses
In that lonely twilight
Of your winter’s grief.”
16. Silhouette by Janice Lobo Sapigao
”more and more of my friends
are becoming parents or partners
i have lived long and short enough
to remember the homegirls who
danced non-stop until three a.m.
the moon a parabola to our party
i’ve grown up enough
to see them sing their favorite slow songs
to herbs and succulents on their windowsills
in homes they sowed from dreams”
17. Cento Between the Ending and the End by Cameron Awkward-Rich
“it is like the world
when I call out
all my friends are there
everyone we love
is still alive gathered
at the lakeside
my honeyed kin
beneath the sky”
Emily Torres is the Managing Editor at The Good Trade. She’s a Los Angeles transplant who was born and raised in Indiana, where she studied Creative Writing and Business at Indiana University. You can usually find her reading or writing, caring for her rabbits, or practicing at the yoga studio. Say hi on Instagram!