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Nominate

Is there a poem that has been a friend to you?

We invite you to tell us about it here…

 

Whether it is a lifelong friend or one you have met more recently, we would love to hear about your chosen poem and the part it has played in your life…

 

Fill in the form below to introduce us to your friend! You can even leave us a voice message!  

 

Read on to discover some of the extraordinary friendships between people and poems that we have gathered so far...and feel free to seek out these poems for yourself.

We look forward to meeting your friend!

Meet some poems as friends nominated so far...

A Cradle Song

by W.B. Yeats

A Friend to Chiara

I sigh that kiss you,
For I must own
That I shall miss you
When you have grown.

[excerpt]

“I bought a volume of Yeats' chosen poems on a study holiday in Ireland when I was fifteen. The poem stood out for its simplicity and loving atmosphere and I learned it by heart. It was my first book of poems in English (I'm Italian).”

Butterflies and Goosebumps

by Prince Views

My descent to the present is recent
That it's just now I sensed an incense
That has always been in my atmosphere
I am after a confrontation with my fears
And tears tended to compassionately

[excerpt]

“I sipped my black coffee under a warm overcast sky and ‘Butterflies & Goosebumps’ allowed me vulnerability, it listened as I spoke of a hope of love and security. It bears all the load I didn't have to carry.”

Free Pens

by Connie Wanek

A Friend to Sarah

My mother knew the value of free pens.

[excerpt]

“My mother died during Covid lockdown. She was very old and alone in hospital. We felt the usual things…grief…end of an era….and especially guilt that we could not have eased her passing. But I saw this poem at this time and shared it with my family and it sort of brought us together although we were all far apart. A bit of light in the dark and love.”

Invisible Kisses

by Lemn Sissay

A Friend to Maggie Atkinson

If there was ever one
To whom when you run
Will push back the clouds
So you are bathed in sun

[excerpt]

“All of it speaks. The direct address to the hearer, of that repeated ‘if there was ever one’ binds it together into a series of very key gifts the writer is offering you, open-armed and open-hearted. The vulnerability being offered to you has to sink in. Your tears will be dried, the world will be made brighter, you will be made whole and safe.”

Matins

by Louise Glück

A Friend to Tom

You want to know how I spend my time?
I walk the front lawn, pretending
to be weeding. You ought to know
I’m never weeding,

[excerpt]

"The poem makes me feel less alone in low moments and reminds me of the beauty still to come, how it's okay to be just carrying on."

Mountain Lion

by D.H. Lawrence

A Friend to Susan Lumsden

Yet what a gap in the world, the missing white frost face
of that slim yellow mountain lion!

[excerpt]

"It chimes with my despair at how little humankind cares for the lives of other creatures and so readily and easily destroys the beauty of the natural world."

Strange Meeting

by Wilfred Owen

A Friend to Gary Gach

I am the enemy you killed, my friend.

[excerpt]

"I can think of two poems which are vital to me right now in my life. One you already know - 'Oh Western Wind when wilt thou blow' - the other I've tried recording and putting on my Facebook page, by Wilfred Owen – ‘Strange Meeting.' Thanking you and wishing you every good thing."

The Orange

by Wendy Cope

A Friend to Emily Escott

And that orange, it made me so happy,
As ordinary things often do
Just lately.

[excerpt]

“I first read The Orange after it was sent to me by an online friend. It offers a quiet realisation of happiness and fulfilment in the everyday that I felt so hungry for all those years ago at my lowest, that I am working towards achieving every day. I could read it every day, and I want to get a tattoo of an orange at a future date.”

This Moment

by Eavan Boland

A Friend to Matthew Dickman

Stars rise.
Moths flutter
Apples sweeten in the dark

[excerpt]

"I was maybe 19 years old, riding on a bus through Portland, Oregon. I remember I had just enough money for a pack of cigarettes and a coffee. I was feeling lost. Then I happened on this poem in a packet from school and when I read it it felt like everything stopped - the bus, the rain, my worry."

Where the Mind is Without Fear

by Rabindranath Tagore

A Friend to Linda Kader

Where words come out from the depth of truth
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection

[excerpt]

“Tagore wrote it over 30 years before India's independence. The clarity of the vision, the poignancy of the words, the power of the dream, passion for freedom, all are encompassed in this poem, for me.”

A Ritual to Read to Each Other

by William E. Stafford

A Friend to Simon Seligman

For it is important that awake people be awake,
or a breaking line may discourage them back to sleep;

[excerpt]

“This poem has been an absolute touchstone, a profound friend to me, throughout my adult life. The line above is the absolutely central text of my life. I hope when I get to the end of it, I will feel I was awake.”

Cahoots

by Carl Sandburg

A Friend to Atar Hadari

Go fifty-fifty.
If they nail you call in a mouthpiece.
Fix it, you gazump, you slant-head, fix it.
Feed 'em. . . .

[excerpt]

“I first encountered this poem as the epigraph to a biography of Al Capone, which I started but never finished. The lines of Carl Sandburg stayed with me though and would play in my head as an attitude to things, a way of not being fooled by the way things look, a toughness which was not put on but deeply engrained.”

Gate A-4

by Naomi Shihab Nye

A Friend to Frances

And I looked around that gate of late and weary ones and I thought, This
is the world I want to live in. The shared world.

[excerpt]

“I read it often at the peak of the pandemic. Days when I felt lonely, frightened, and missing the people that I loved. It held an even deeper meaning then, and has never left my side since.”

It ain’t what you do, it’s what it does to you

by Simon Armitage

A Friend to Jessica Taylor

I have not bummed across America
with only a dollar to spare, one pair
of busted Levi's and a bowie knife.
I have lived with thieves in Manchester.

[excerpt]

“I stumbled upon this poem as a shy, quiet sixteen year-old. In those days I used to yearn for adventure - I felt like I'd never done anything truly exciting. But when I read this poem it made me realise that sometimes the quiet, pensive, everyday moments can mean more to you than the wild crazy adventures.”

Mending Wall

by Robert Frost

A Friend to Daniel Bee

Before I built a wall I’d ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offense.

[excerpt]

"Throughout my international business career I have repeatedly quoted the line "good fences make good neighbours". I could carry on for hours about this poem."

My Bohemia

by Arthur Rimbaud

A Friend to Isabelle Audiger

The Great Bear became my abode
And my stars in the sky whispered into my soul.

[excerpt]

“It would be at school. The teacher reading the poem for us. The words of the 16 year-old poet saved me as a pupil. Suddenly, I found an interest in what was coming my way from my teachers. I pricked my ears, I related, I was grateful.”

The Baler

by Seamus Heaney

A Friend to Rob Kenny

All day the clunk of a baler
Ongoing, cardiac-dull,
So taken for granted

It was evening before I came to
To what I was hearing
And missing

[excerpt]

“I was living in London and feeling lost and a little homesick. I had recently rediscovered Heaney's poetry and had felt through it a strong connection to home in Northern Ireland. ‘The Baler’ spoke to me both in its deeply familiar imagery but also in the subtle elegy."

The Road Less Taken

by Robert Frost

A Friend to Kelly Banek

Oh, I kept the first for another day!

[excerpt]

"My speech teacher first showed it to me aged 13 and it has been etched into my tissues since...this verbal tattoo, that keeps whispering away at me. After a wild journey in advertising, charity, motherhood, I return to speech; this time, I am the teacher."

Timeless

by T.H. Gillis

A Friend to Joe Dudeck

And the color of forever is
Enduring, priceless, sempiternal

[excerpt]

“I've always enjoyed the opportunity to freeze time with a photograph. And having done it for many years, people in the photos have passed away, couples have separated, kids have grown. So this poem helps me hold onto the privilege of allowing someone to re-enter those scenes and passing moments of time.”

i thank you God for this most amazing

by e.e. cummings

A Friend to Maureen P Kane

(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)

[excerpt]

"I got a mimeographed copy in tenth grade from my English teacher. I love the reference to ‘the leaping greenly spirit of trees and the blue true dream of sky.’ And it’s a poem of gratitude and rising from depression: ‘i who have died am alive again today.’"

And It Does, Marianne

by Eli Siegel

A Friend to Leila Rosen

Marianne, it’s a very connected world.
That takes you in, Marianne.
It should, I think, too.
You deserve it and the world does.

[excerpt]

“What stood out to me in this poem is this wonderful line: ‘lt's a very connected world, Marianne.’ A week doesn’t go by when this line, and what it represents, doesn’t come to mind. It strengthens and inspires me, encourages me to feel permanently and widely related to everything and everyone.”

Evening

by Stephan G. Stephansson

A Friend to Jerry Iwanus

Till finally called - and shall calmly retire
Where sleeplessness may not assail
Convinced that whatever of good I conceived
Continues - and never shall fail
The best that was in me forever shall live
The sun over darkness prevail.

[excerpt]

“Stephan G. Stephansson, considered Iceland’s greatest poet, actually homesteaded in Central Alberta, where I moved in 1985. It is in my will that the last line should be etched on my gravestone. Those last four lines have sustained more often than I care to admit.”

Having A Coke With You

by Frank O'Hara

A Friend to Carolina Carriazo

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

[excerpt]

"I had just moved to New York after graduating college for my first real job. I knew no one there. It became a constant companion for the next few months. I even took it with me to the Frick - no less than it deserved."

Lying in Bed in the Dark I Silently Address the Birds of Arizona

by Billy Collins

A Friend to Sergios Hadjivasilis

Oh, birds of Arizona, who woke me yesterday with your excited chirping, where do you go to die?

[excerpt]

"I've been working through your back catalogue, and I haven't seen an appearance by Billy Collins yet, and so I would like to share with you my favourite poem, my friend."

Mother to Son

by Langston Hughes

A Friend to Phoebe Batanda

Don’t you fall now—
For I’se still goin’, honey,
I’se still climbin’,
And life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.

[excerpt]

"I loved the realistic advice the mother gives to the son - that life is not a bed of roses. This poem reminds me often times life is a journey filled with ‘climbings, bare places’, but we ought not to give up."

Sometimes

by Sheenagh Pugh

A Friend to Jann Paton

The sun will sometimes melt a field of sorrow
that seemed hard frozen; may it happen for you.

[excerpt]

“I found this in a Sunday supplement that would feature a single poem each week (sadly it has long been discontinued). It is a poem of optimism which has stuck with me in many difficult times, and always gives me hope.”

The Note

by Jane Draycott

A Friend to Robbie Burton

To the prisoners in
solitary and those with no voice
National Day of Silence dawned like any other.

[excerpt]

“It was on an Arvon course that I first encountered 'The Note'. I loved it for many things...the intrigue of the first line, the form, the pace…but most of all it filled me with some kind of hiraeth - a longing for something I hadn't known I needed.”

The Summer Day

by Mary Oliver

A Friend to Beth Calverley

Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

[excerpt]

"The last lines are the perfect example of how friends must occasionally be challenging as well as kind. Sometimes we need a reminder from our friends to live the life we want to, even if it’s not what we want to hear in the midst of it all."

To the Woman Crying Uncontrollably in the Next Stall

by Kim Addonizio

A Friend to Sallyanne Rock

if you think nothing &
no one can / listen I love you joy is coming

[excerpt]