Friendship Poems

Friendship Poems – Celebrating Companionship Through Prose

Friends! Most of us have and/or want them, although a few of us don’t, and for this reason, there are so many poems about friendship out there! There are best friend poems, poems about friendship as a concept, and so on. Today, we’ll be taking a gander at a small selection, but this selection of 10 poems should give a good understanding of the kind of literature that is out there for those who may be interested in this particular topic. So, with all of that explained and packed away, we can proceed with our list of poems about friendship!



A Few Friendship Poems

What does it mean to have a poem about friendship? Well, friendship can mean many things to many different people. Many of the poems below will look at different ways in which friendship can be shown and expressed. Friendship is something incredibly multifaceted and the idea that there is any specific and “correct” way to show friendship does not take into full account the many different ways that we might experience our friends. This list of friendship poems is only a collection of 10 though and so there will, fundamentally, be a certain level of narrowness to what is discussed. Although there are so many other ways to show friendship than is shown in these poems, this list should be a good place to start!

Best Friend Poems


Sonnet 104: To me, fair friend, you never can be old (1609) by William Shakespeare

Date Published1609
Type of PoemShakespearean sonnet
MeterIambic pentameter
TopicAge, love, and friendship

To me, fair friend, you never can be old is a poem that bleeds between being a friendship poem and a love poem. It certainly uses language directed towards a friend, but it is also part of the larger Fair Youth sequence of Shakespeare’s sonnets, and these are concerned with love for a young man. This poem focuses on how the age of his friend and possible love has remained for all the years in which they have known each other. Time and its effects on people have long been a topic that Shakespeare explored, and it’s one that can also be very easily applied to friendship in general. When with our friends, we can often regress to an earlier point. They are who we’ve always known, and it takes a major change for us to really see that shift in them.

Our friends will always be a certain way in our eyes, and time does little to change that.

Famous Friendship Poems Sonnet 104: To me, fair friend, you never can be old (1609) by William Shakespeare; William Shakespeare, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons


A Poison Tree (1794) by William Blake

Date Published1794
Type of PoemQuatrain poem
Rhyme SchemeAABB
TopicAnger and resentment

A Poison Tree is a poem that many may not ordinarily associate with friendship all that much as the text describes, in some detail, the pitfalls of anger and resentment. The poem shows the kinds of feelings that can come out of those feelings when left unchecked. The poem, by exploring these ideas, suggests that friendship and closeness to others can help us to mitigate these thoughts and to stop them from growing out of control. It shows us that the kind of communication we can gain from relationships with friends is immensely beneficial to us, and this is the sort of lesson that poetry can explore.

It can aid us in seeing why friends might be good for us on a deeper level and, as a result, it turns this poem into a fantastic examination of how damaging emotion can be to us when taken in isolation.

Famous Best Friend Poems A Poison Tree (1794) by William Blake; William Blake, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons


To a Friend who sent me some Roses (1816) by John Keats

Date Published1816
Type of PoemSonnet
MeterIambic pentameter

To a Friend who sent me some Roses is a poem that fixates on exactly what it states in the title. Much of the poem is dedicated more to an appreciation for the roses in question, but there is the pondering thought on how the flower came to him. The poem does not necessarily state whether the flower was directly gifted to him, but that feeling of receiving something lingers throughout the poem. The idea of receiving gifts from friends is something that many of us can appreciate. While many friends are not always the gifting sorts in our lives, many of us do have relationships of this variety with those who may wish to give us gifts of some or another description to show us their love for us.

Some of us are uncomfortable with such things, and words like “love” can often cause us confusion, but shouldn’t we have love for our friends?

Best Friendship Poems John Keats (c. 1823) by Joseph Severn; Joseph Severn, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons


After the Quarrel (1913) by Paul Laurence Dunbar

Date Published1913
Type of PoemLyric poem
Rhyme SchemeABAB
MeterIambic pentameter

After the Quarrel is a poem about language, but it’s also a poem about relationships. Language can be used to harm or benefit others, and in this poem, the text examines these kinds of ideas. It specifically focuses on the ways in which we can use language as a way of leading to a positive change in others and in society at large. In terms of its connections to friendship, the poem wants us to understand that friendship can be a powerful thing when we choose to properly communicate with one another.

It can be a difficult thing to accomplish, but choosing to work side by side instead of lashing out will always lead to better results.

Explore Friendship Poems Paul Laurence Dunbar (1906); Kell, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons


The Power of the Dog (1922) by Rudyard Kipling

Date Published1922
Type of PoemNarrative poem
Rhyme SchemeAABB
TopicFriendship with non-human beings

The Power of the Dog is a poem that most of us can understand. Who needs human friends when there’s a perfectly good dog friend nearby instead!? This poem is, as the title immediately tells us, about dogs and the kind of friendship that we can achieve with these friends of ours. Many of us tend to think of friendship in purely human terms, but a poem like this can show us that when it comes to our furry friends, there is indeed much that can be gained from having them as members of our friendship groups too. There’s no reason that there can’t be best friend poems about man’s best friend, after all. To many of us, dogs are our good friends and companions and they often have many of the attributes that we adore in friends, such as loyalty, affection, and a constant desire to have fun with us!

If you need a friend, a dog will be better than most humans!

Discover Friendship Poems Portrait of Rudyard Kipling (c. 1891) by John Collier; John Collier, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons


A Time to Talk (1972) by Robert Frost

Date Published1972
Type of PoemFree verse poem
TopicGreeting a friend

A Time to Talk is a rather beautiful little poem that shows us something phenomenal about friendship. The poem is a simple one that entails a character who is busy doing his own thing, but a friend appears (on a horse, so it’s a bit dated! But substitute it with a car and you’ll be fine), and so the man immediately stops what he’s doing so that he can chat to his friend. This is a short and sweet scene, but one that anyone who has a friend can very easily understand. When a friend stops by unannounced, and they’re an actual friend, you stop what you’re doing and you spend some time with them. There doesn’t need to be any kind of a reason to do anything like this, but it can make us feel great to chat with a friend for a while, and sometimes friendship is something small like that.

It’s having a chat with a friend that you may not have seen for a while.

Top Friendship Poems Robert Frost (1913); See page for author, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons


Hug O’War (1974) by Shel Silverstein

Date Published1974
Type of PoemChildren’s poem
Rhyme SchemeVariable
TopicNon-violence in friendships

Hug O’War is one of our examples of a friendship poem, but the thing that sets it apart from the rest of these poems is that it’s also a poem for children. This poem is aimed squarely at kids but can be understood by someone older too. In it, the speaker states that they do not wish to play tug o’ war and instead want to hug it out. It’s a non-violent perspective aimed at something that is often taken for granted and not thought about all that much.

This is a lovely and short poem about friendship and one that also has a positive message for young people who may not otherwise learn things like things from other places.

Top Best Friend Poems Portrait of Shel Silverstein (1964) by Jerry Uelsmann; Jerry Yulsman (given on back of dust jacket), Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons


Alone (1975) by Maya Angelou

Date Published1975
Type of PoemFree verse
Rhyme SchemeNone

Alone is a poem that focuses on something more than only friendship. It certainly can be seen to go beyond the purview of only being an example of the friendship poems above and below, but it does still act as one. In this poem, Angelou muses on the realities of being alone. She focuses on how no one can be truly alone and hope to make it in this world. The text may not be like one of the best friend poems we have looked at, but it understands the need for relationships of all sorts, and the relationships that we have with friends are certainly one of those kinds of relationships. Humans are fundamentally social animals, and our friends are part of that social network on which we so strongly depend.

This poem wants us to understand that friends, and other relationships, are needed for us to be as we are meant to be, and it is a beautiful text thanks to that.

Happy Friendship Poems Portrait photograph of Maya Angelou (1974) by Jill Krementz; Jill Krementz, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons


To All My Friends (2021) by May Yang

Date Published2021
Type of PoemFree verses
Rhyme SchemeNone
TopicA thanks to friends

To All My Friends is a friendship poem that comments on and understands the negative aspects of our lives in which the positives of friendship can help us to overcome. It discusses our personal weaknesses and the struggles that we experience, but our friends can be there to help us. They see us for who we are, and they know us. We all face difficult parts of our lives, and friendship poems of this variety show us that those very same people can be there for us when we need them in situations like that.

Friends are not solely for when things are good and great, they are also there for when things get rough, when we experience heartbreak, rejection, personal tragedy, and so on.


A Friend (2022) by Gillian Jones

Date Published2022
Type of PoemLyrical poem
Rhyme SchemeAABB
TopicImportance of friendship

A Friend is exactly the kind of thing that you may want out of your best friend poems. It is a poem that goes to great lengths to discuss all the kinds of things that a real friend would be. For instance, it focuses on how a real friend will be there for you when times are tough, they won’t condemn you for the things that you think or do, and they’ll make you feel happy. These are rather typical things that we think of when we think of what we’d want out of our friends. There is a focus here on the kind of friend-oriented love that many of us want out of our relationships with our friends. We love them and we hope that they too love us. This friendship poem focuses on this kind of experience with friendship, something of a platonic ideal, and even when these are not the kinds of friends that we might always be able to have in our lives, it certainly is the kind of thing that we should strive to be. And, in addition to that, the poem does also give us a clue as to how we should be toward our own friends.


Many of us have friends. It would be presumptuous to say that we all do or that we all necessarily want them, but it is a near-universal idea that friends, or at least good friends, are a positive in our lives. This list of poems has typically focused on the positive aspects of friendship, but there certainly will be poems and other texts that have a darker approach when it comes to the topic of friendship. However, this article has been a happier affair overall, and, hopefully, you have enjoyed some of the poems that have been discussed. You should always remember that there are many other poems out there that you can check out if this is far too small a selection of friendship poems for you!




Frequently Asked Questions


What Are Friendship Poems?

When it comes to friendship poems, we’re essentially looking at any kind of a poem that is, in some way, about friendship. A poem about friendship does not have to be a poem that sees friendship as some positive thing, because our relationships with our friends can often be wrought with bad feelings and harsh words, but there does tend to be an idealized view of what it means to be a friend and how our friends should act. So, there are many different ways that friendship poems might be approached, but the one principal thing that is needed for something to be a friendship poem is that it is about friends and/or friendships.


What Are the Characteristics of Friendship Poems?

Friendship poems are a very nebulous and general concept, and this means that there are no necessary characteristics that are attached to friendship poems. If a poet wanted to use rhyme, irregular meter, and a limerick structure, they could do so! A friendship poem can make use of any characteristics under the sun, but those characteristics are generally attached to the tone. For instance, if the poem is about some kind of negative aspect of friendship, then it probably uses harsher language, and if it’s about how good friendship can be, then it will likely have a far bouncier and happier structure.


Which Formal Poetic Type Is Most Used for Friendship Poems?

There are so many different formal categories for poetry, such as villanelles and sestinas. However, none of these are strictly necessary when it comes to friendship poems. A poet does not need to make use of a sonnet or a limerick to be a poem about friendship. They could use anything, or even just make up a free verse structure to use instead of anything more standard. Ultimately, there are no real restrictions on something as broad as friendship because it is more of a topic or theme than something that can be classified into any kind of formalized category.


What Are Some of the Most Famous Friendship Poems?

There are quite a number of very famous friendship poems out there! Some of the best known of them all include poems such as After the Quarrel (1913) by Paul Laurence Dunbar, A Time to Talk (1972) by Robert Frost, and Hug O’War (1974) by Shel Silverstein. Sadly, any attempt to produce a shortened list like this, or a longer list like the one above, can hardly show off everything that exists of a topic in poetry. There are far more best friend poems and poems about friendship in general than are listed above.


Which Famous Poets Have Written Friendship Poems?

There have been many poets over the centuries who have written about friendship. For instance, William Shakespeare incorporated it into some of his texts, some of the Romantics like William Blake and John Keats also used this theme, and later writers like Robert Frost and Paul Laurence Dunbar would incorporate these elements too. There are far more than only these poets who have written friendship poems though, but this should show some of the breadth of what is available when it comes to poems of this variety.


Cite this Article

Justin, van Huyssteen, “Friendship Poems – Celebrating Companionship Through Prose.” Art in Context. January 24, 2024. URL:

van Huyssteen, J. (2024, 24 January). Friendship Poems – Celebrating Companionship Through Prose. Art in Context.

van Huyssteen, Justin. “Friendship Poems – Celebrating Companionship Through Prose.” Art in Context, January 24, 2024.

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