It’s no secret that good friends can be hard to find. The French poet Jean de la Fontaine put it best when he said, “Rare as is true love, true friendship is rarer.” (And that was back in the 17th century!) But even harder to track down are smart, touching poems about friendship that speak to the deep value and joy of our platonic relationships.
No doubt, the friends in our lives deserve to be lauded with verse. The pal you’ve known since kindergarten who still loves sharing an ice cream cone on the stoop together. The college friend who became your partner in crime during your party days and has stayed your lifeline through every major milestone. The woman next door who has slowly morphed from a friendly neighbor to a person you’d do anything for. The furry companion who licks your face every morning and always greets you with enthusiasm when you come home. The loved ones you lost too soon and think about all the time. Every friend—and type of friendship—is worth celebrating.
This collection of quotes makes it easy to do just that. Whether you’re looking to reflect on your friendships or are on the hunt for a great poem to read for a speech or stick in your bestie’s birthday care, you’ll find something here. Some might tug at your heartstrings so hard, you’ll have no choice but to share them with your friends ASAP just because.
“A Time to Talk,” by Robert Frost
Work, family, and endless to-do lists can make it tough to find the time to catch up. But you’ll never regret taking a break to chat with your friend, Frost reminds us. Everything else will still be there later.
“Will You Ever?” by Kaitlin M. Yawn
Looking for something to read at your best friend’s surprise birthday bash or retirement party? Yawn’s tearjerker of an ode spills out pure love and gratitude. It’s everything you wanted to say but weren’t quite sure how.
“A Poison Tree,” by William Blake
Bottling up big feelings can be toxic to even the strongest friendships. If you’ve been debating over whether to bring up a big issue with a friend, let Blake’s poem serve as some potent motivation. Not only will talking strengthen your relationship but you’ll feel better, too.
“Alone,” by Maya Angelou
“Nobody, but nobody / can make it out here alone,” says Angelou in one of her best-known poems that lauds the power of strong ties. Her words serve as a welcome reminder that no matter what, we’re always better off together.
“A Friend,” by Gillian Jones
Jones’ short and sweet poem, which was inspired by her own bestie, reminds us that when it comes to friendship, you’ll only get back as much as you give.
“Friends for Life,” by Angelica N. Brisset
How do you build a relationship that stands the test of time? Always have your friend’s back. When you show up for a friend, they’ll do the same for you, Brisset says. And that’s the stuff that true friendships are made of.
“To All My Friends,” by May Yang
Yang’s words are the poetic equivalent of the biggest hug to all of the friends who’ve helped you make it through life’s challenges— and the acknowledgement that you’ll do the same for them.
“Sonnet 104,” by William Shakespeare
Shakespeare’s ode to friendship has stood the test of time, just like the bond with your nearest and dearest.
“Hug ‘O War,” by Shel Silverstein
Silverstein’s playful verses were written for kids, but the message is just as powerful for adults: Being kind to your friends is always better than being right.
“On Friendship,” by Khalil Gibran
Here, Gibran eloquently reminds us that friendship is one of life’s most valuable gifts. Had he written this in 2022, it might’ve been called “All The Reasons Why Your Friends Are The Best Thing Ever.”
“It Would Be Water,” by Kathy Engel
Writing about her own loss, Engel shares unexpected moment that reminds her of a friend who has passed away. Her graceful words capture what it’s like to recall bittersweet memories of a friend who is no longer with you.
“The Friend,” by Matt Hart
Lazing barefoot in the grass, sharing a piece of chocolate cake. Hart recounts all of those pleasurable moments that friendships are made of and how they create the deepest of bonds: “You and the friend/remain twisted together.”
“I Love You,” by Roy Croft
Croft’s poem is often interpreted as describing as a romantic relationship. But reading his expression of deep love and admiration is just as likely to make you think of your best friend.
“We Have Been Friends Together,” by Caroline Elizabeth Sarah Norton
“We have been friends together—shall a light word part us now?” asks Norton, in this poem about longstanding friendships and the trite arguments that can, sadly, cause them to crumble.
“In the Company of Women,” by January Gill O’Neil
O’Neil knows that the girlfriends who know you best can restore your soul, writing: “Sorry, the blues are nowhere to be found./ Not tonight. Not here. / No makeup. No tears. /Only contours. Only curves.”
“Red Brocade,” by Naomi Shihab Nye
Offer a person help or hospitality before deciding whether they’re potential friend material, Nye suggests. “That way, he’ll have strength/ enough to answer. /Or, by then you’ll be/ such good friends/ you don’t care.”
“Silhouette.” by Janice Lobo Sapiago
Sapiago’s ode to the women she loves most is a poignant reminder that every friendship is different and will evolve over time.
“Care and Happiness,” by Shishir
If you’ve ever been touched by the kindness of a friend when you’re going through a tough time, this sweet, simple poem will have you nodding your head in agreement.
“Us Two,” by A.A. Milne
Milne’s poem may have been about a boy’s relationship with his favorite bear, but it’s hard not to think of your own tight knit childhood friendships when you read his lines.
“The Power of the Dog,” by Rudyard Kipling
Any dog owner can attest to the fact that some of the deepest relationships we have are with our furry companions. Kipling acknowledges this, while lamenting the bittersweetness of having friends whose lives are so much shorter than ours.