40+ Short Poems About Friendship & Memories

Updated

There could be many reasons you are in search of poems about friends. Or maybe you don’t need a reason. You may be creating a gift for a friend, and instead of relying on your own words to sum up your relationship, you want to use some well-crafted words from famous poets.

Jump ahead to these sections:

Maybe you are looking for a friendship poem for your kids. Encouraging them to share a favorite poem can feel like a heartfelt message when making homemade Valentine’s Day cards. Or perhaps, you recently lost a friend. If so, let us offer you condolences. Some of these pieces may be appropriate to use when writing a eulogy for your friend.

Regardless if you are searching for a funeral poem or something to post online to give people a boost, here are some friendship poems to enjoy.

Poems About Friendship for Kids

This image is a example poem about friendship for kids

Teach your kids about the importance of having good friends and what constitutes a healthy relationship. Perhaps you can use one of these poems as the starting block for your discussion.

1. “How Many, How Much?” by Shel Silverstein

“How many slams in an old screen door?
Depends how loud you shut it.
How many slices in a bread?
Depends how thin you cut it.
How much good inside a day?
Depends how good you live ’em.
How much love inside a friend?
Depends how much you give ’em.”

Shel Silverstein is the king of children’s poetry. His works, which were often accompanied by his creative illustrations, have been translated into 30 different languages and have sold 20 million copies. 

2. “Friendship” by Shel Silverstein

“I’ve discovered a way to stay friends forever—
There’s really nothing to it.
I simply tell you what to do
And you do it!!”

Of course, this poem is meant to be shared in a joking manner. Use this poem to help your children understand what it means to be a good friend.

3. “Us Two” by A.A Milne

“So wherever I am, there’s always Pooh,
There’s always Pooh and Me.
“What would I do?” I said to Pooh,
“If it wasn’t for you,” and Pooh said: “True,
It isn’t much fun for One, but Two,
Can stick together, says Pooh, says he. “That’s how it is,” says Pooh.”

This is the last stanza of A.A. Milne’s poem “Us Two.” In it, the ever-agreeable Winnie the Pooh reminds the unnamed speaker about the importance of being “two.”

4. “Since Hanna Moved Away” by Judith Viorst

The speaker in this poem describes how life has been going since their best friend (Hanna) moved away. Besides chocolate ice cream tasting like prunes, the speaker has experienced other problems:

“Flowers smell like halibut.
Velvet feels like hay.
Every handsome dog’s a mutt
Since Hanah moved away.”

5. “Hug O’War” by Shel Silverstein

We know this list is heavy on Silverstein. However, he’s my favorite poet for children. Take a look at “Hug O’ War” from “Where the Sidewalk Ends” if you’re trying to find a poem about friendship.

He describes “Hug O’ War” as being much preferred to tug o’ war because “everyone grins, and everyone cuddles, and everyone wins.”

6. “Millions of Strawberries” by Genevive Taggard

Genevive Taggard was an American poet who died in the late 1940s. This poem describes two friends who spent the day eating and rolling in strawberries — yes, rolling in strawberries. 

» MORE: Need help with funeral costs? Create a free online memorial to gather donations.

Poems About Friendship and Love

a example poem about friendship and love

Perhaps your friendship evolved into love. To find other verses about this theme, consider searching for songs about friendship as well. We’ve also included poems about the love between friends. 

7. “Sonnet 104” by William Shakespeare

“To me, fair friend, you never can be old,
For as you were when first your eye I ey’d,
Such seems your beauty still.”

Shakespeare’s sonnets were not titled, but if the Bard had taken the time to title his work, this one would be “A Celebration of the Love of a Friend.”

8. “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.” 

This poem of friendship and love by Rupi Kaur is inspiring and a good one to send to a friend who may feel a bit down. In it, she implies that society’s obsession with beauty causes people to overlook the other gifts that a person has.

9. “Hug O’War” by Shel Silverstein

“I will not play at tug o’ war.
I’d rather play at hug o’ war,
Where everyone hugs
Instead of tugs.”

Why should Shel Silverstein’s work just be considered appropriate for kids? Although this poem may seem sophomoric, it discusses the nature of humans as well as the struggle that humanity has faced since the beginning of time.

10. “Percy (Nine)” by Mary Oliver

Mary Oliver wrote a collection called “Dog Songs.” This poem is about Percy the dog, who is so excited to hear a friend is coming that “he runs to the door, his wide mouth in its laugh-shape, and waves, since has the one, his tail.” 

The speaker wishes to live a less examined life and thinks about what it would be like to welcome a friend like Percy — “not thinking, not weighing anything, just running forward.”

11. “Love and Friendship” by Emily Bronte

The speaker in this poem ponders which is more everlasting — love or friendship? Bronte uses plants as analogies in this poem.

“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?”

12. “To My Excellent Lucasia, on Our Friendship” by Katherine Philips

Katherine Philips passionately describes her friendship with Lucasia in this poem. Philips was an English poet who died in the 1660s. She was known for her poetry about friendship with other women.

Poems About New Friendship 

this image is a example poem about new friendships

It’s a special thing when you click with someone. The connection may be unexpected. Even though your relationship may be new, it may feel as old as time.

13. “I Knew a Man by Sight” by Henry David Thoreau

This poem begins:

“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.”

How many times do good friendships evolve from continually bumping into each other? This poem is about inadvertently meeting the same person “down a lane,” “in a foreign land,” and “in the wilderness.” From those chance encounters, a friendship was born.

14. “The Arrow and the Song” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Longfellow writes about “breathing a song into the air.” Not knowing where it went, he was amazed to find the song repeated back to him in the “heart of a friend.”

Longfellow is trying to teach his readers that to be a friend, you need to reach out to others and open our hearts.

15. “Your Catfish Friend” by Richard Brautigan

“I’d love you and be your catfish
friend and drive such lonely
thoughts from your mind
and suddenly you would be
at peace,
and ask yourself, “I wonder
if there are any catfish
in this pond? It seems like
a perfect place for them.”

We hope you find a friend to “drive such lonely thoughts from your mind.” While most would choose the friendship of another human, others would prefer the companionship of a catfish.

Some would view this poem as odd, but we think it is creative. And who knows where the mind wanders when standing on the shore of a pond, fishing for catfish?

16. “Alone” by Maya Angelou

This poem is about the importance of friends, both new and old. As the refrain of this poem states: 

“Nobody, but nobody

Can make it out here alone.”

17. “In the Company of Women” by January Gill O’Neil

We love highlighting the work of current poets. January Gill O’Neil won the 2015 Paterson Award for Literary Excellence. This beautiful piece describes a laughter-filled coffee date with female friends. 

“Let me listen to your ringing and singing
as Billie Holiday croons above our heads.
Sorry, the blues are nowhere to be found.
Not tonight. Not here.
No makeup. No tears.”

18. “Sybil” by Julia Ward Howe 

The speaker in this poem describes a “new contentment” from being around her friend — who has the gentle spirit that her mother had.

The second stanza states:

“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.”

Poems About Old Friendship

This image is a example poem about old friendships

There’s something easy and comforting about being with old friends. Making conversation is easier. They already know your old stories, and they know your idiosyncrasies. Here are poems to toast relationships that are decades in the making.

19. “Old Friends” by Edgar Guest

We love this poem by Edgar Guest. In the poem, Guest describes a situation

“when a feller’s heart is crushed and achin’ with the pain,
And teardrops come a-splashin’ down his cheeks like summer rain,
Becoz his grief an’ loneliness are more than he can bear.” 

The poem continues...

“Somehow it’s only old friends, then, that really seem to care.”

The beautiful thing about old friends is that you don’t have to make conversation with them if you are going through a difficult time. All you need to do is to be by each other.

20. “A Time to Talk” by Robert Frost

We love this poem by Robert Frost. The one simple act of thrusting a hoe in the “mellow ground” shows us the actions of a true friend.

“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.”

21. “How I Go Into the Woods” by Mary Oliver

Mary Oliver’s poetry typically describes extended, independent forays into nature. In this poem, the speaker states, “If you have ever gone to the woods with me,

I must love you very much.”

22. “Old Friends” by Freya Manfred

The second half of this poem describes how a friend knew her friend, even before they met.

“Old friend, I knew you before we met.
I saw you at the window of my soul—
I heard you in the steady millstone of my heart
grinding grain for our daily bread.
You are sedimentary, rock-solid cousin earth,
where I stand firmly, astonished by your grace and truth.
And gratitude comes to me and says:
“Tell me anything and I will listen.
Ask me anything, and I will answer you.”

23. “acknowledgements” by Danez Smith

We love this description of a good friend. The poem includes lines like:

“you, drunk as an uncle, making all kinds of nonsense sense
i listen for the language between your words”
“i call your mama mama”
“you request like a demand, make me some of that mango cornbread
i cut the fruit, measure the honey”

Poems About a Friendship Ending

This image is a example of a poem about a ending friendship

Unfortunately, friendships may end, whether in anger or in grief. Not all friendships may last forever but they may all have some bright moments to share, which can be great to remember as people change and time passes. Here are some verses about losing a friend.

24. “A Poison Tree” by William Blake

We know that Blake is a poet, but he must really have experienced the loss of a friendship to describe it so perfectly. 

Blake tells the story of having a problem with a friend and not discussing the issue with him. The problem ended up growing into a “poison tree” that dissolved the friendship.

25. “Remember” by Christina Rossetti

Some friendships may end in death. In this poem, Christina Rossetti instructs her mourners to remember her with happiness and not with grief. As those who are looking on mourning their friend, this may be easier said than done.

26. “I Should Not Dare to Leave My Friend” by Emily Dickinson

The famous poet Emily Dickinson wrote this passionate poem about the deathbed of an unnamed friend. It is up to the reader to interpret whether Emily sees herself as the one dying or the one attending the person in bed.

Regardless, Dickinson speaks about the importance of sticking with a friend — until the absolute end.

27. “My friend must be a Bird–” by Emily Dickinson

Here’s this poem in its entirety:

"My friend must be a Bird —
Because it flies!
Mortal, my friend must be,
Because it dies!
Barbs has it, like a Bee!
Ah, curious friend!
Thou puzzlest me!"

28. “Impossible Friendships” by Adam Zagajewski

This piece by Polish poet Adam Zagajewski describes impossible friendships, including “with someone who no longer is, who exists only in yellowed letters.” The poem’s ending takes a turn when the speaker describes the impossibility of being friends with yourself, “—since after all you don’t know who you are.”

29. “Nothing Gold Can Stay” by Robert Frost

This poem may not be explicitly about friendship, but it’s a reminder that all things must come to an end.

This is one of Robert Frost’s most famous poems. It begins, “Nature’s first green is gold.” 

Poems About Friendship for a Funeral or Memorial Service

Were you given the solemn and honorable task of selecting the poem for a friend’s memorial service? Give yourself plenty of time to find the right poem with the right tone and theme. Here are some often-used funeral poems to consider.

30. “Funeral Blues” by W.H. Auden

Because of how this poem was used in the movie “Four Weddings and a Funeral,” people assume it is about losing a lover. However, it could also describe the loss of a friend. It begins: 

“Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with the juicy bone.
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.”

31. “The Role of Elegy” by Mary Jo Bang

An elegy is a lament for the dead. In this poem, the speaker examines its role as being something 

“To put a death mask on tragedy,
A drape on the mirror.”
Or “The transient distraction of ink on cloth.”

32. “What It’s Like” by Barbara Abercrombie

Like the previous poem, “What It’s Like” tries to describe grief but realizes words aren’t enough. In this poem, the speaker describes grief as the large earthquake that’s expected to hit California someday. “It will be like nothing you’ve ever known.”

33. “After Her Death” by Mary Oliver

The speaker in this poem tries to form a thought – “after her death.” The speaker is amazed that:

“The trees keep whispering
peace, peace, and the birds
in the shallows are full of the
bodies of small fish and are
content. They open their wings
so easily, and fly. It is still
Possible.”

34. “The Window” by Rumi

We love this short poem describing how it feels to communicate with someone you were close to after they die.

“Your body is away from me
but there is a window open
from my heart to yours.
From this window, like the moon
I keep sending news secretly.”

35. “Death is Nothing at All” by Henry Scott Holland

This poem, though longer, is similar in theme to the previous poem on our list. It begins:

“Death is nothing at all. 
It does not count. 
I have only slipped away into the next room. 
Nothing has happened. 

Everything remains exactly as it was. 
I am I, and you are you, 
and the old life that we lived so fondly together is untouched, unchanged. 
Whatever we were to each other, that we are still.”

We love the reassuring line at the end of this piece: “All is well."

Poems About Friendship and Showing Support

Are you trying to find the right words to tell a friend you’ll be there for them when things fall apart? Here are some poems that make that promise.

36. “I’ll Be There for You” by The Rembrandts

Song lyrics are poetry. Take a look at this poem that happens to be set to music and played at the beginning of “Friends.”

“I’ll be there for you
(When the rain starts to pour)
I’ll be there for you
(Like I’ve been there before)
I’ll be there for you
(’Cause you’re there for me too).”

37. “You’ve Got a Friend” by Carole King

Carole King is credited for writing the lyrics to “You’ve Got a Friend.” It begins:

“When you’re down and troubled
And you need a helping hand
And nothing, nothing is going right
Close your eyes and think of me
And soon I will be there
To brighten up even your darkest night.”

38. “Make New Friends (But Keep the Old)”

Are there any former Girl Scouts out there? If so, you’re probably familiar with this sweet song/poem, which encourages friendship. It begins:

“Make new friends,
but keep the old.
One is silver,
the other is gold.”

» MORE: Honor a loved one with an online memorial. Create one for free with Cake.

39. “The Poet With His Face in His Hands” by Mary Oliver

It’s hard not to get overwhelmed by life. Read this poem as it came from a friend offering some advice, which is to:

“go by yourself across
the forty fields and the forty dark inclines
of rocks and water to the place where
the falls are flinging out their white sheets
like crazy, and there is a cave behind all that
jubilation and water fun and you can
stand there, under it, and roar all you
want and nothing will be disturbed.”

Do you feel better?

40. “Having a Coke With You” by Frank O’Hara

This poem lists all the acts that aren’t as satisfying as “having a Coke with you.” 

Included on the list is this observation:

“I look
at you and I would rather look at you than all the portraits in the world
except possibly for the Polish Rider occasionally and anyway it’s in the Frick
which thank heavens you haven’t gone to yet so we can go together for the first time.”

41. “To All My Friends” by May Yang

This poem celebrates those special people in our lives who offer support and love. 

“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
Although the world is silent around you
I know you
I see you 
I hear you”

Show Your Love With Moving Words

Think about the friends in your life. How do you show that you care for them? Do you tell them that you value their friendship? Do you schedule time together by checking off items on your friendship bucket list

If your friend is like family, you may consider sharing your end-of-life wishes with them. Your friend may be easier to talk with about such things than members of your family, and your friend may not judge you if your funeral plans differ from the norm. Together, you two can forge new memories while making sure to hold your old ones close.


Sources:
  1. Blake, William. “A Poison Tree.” Romantic Poetry, Archives, 1794. Archive.org.
  2. Brautigan, Richard. “Your Catfish Friend.” The Communication Company, April 1967. Brautigan.net.
  3. Dickinson. Emily. “I Should Not Dare to Leave My Friend.” Edickinson.org.
  4. Frost. Robert. “A Time to Talk. Poets.org.
  5. Guest, Edgar. “Old Friends.” Collected verse of Edgar A. Guest. Reilly & Lee Co. 1934. Archive.org
  6. Kaur, Rupi. “I want to Apologize.” Milk and Honey. 2014. Goodreads.com.
  7. Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth. “The Arrow and the Song.” Henry Wadsworth Longfellow Selected Works. Etc.usf.edu.
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