No Men are Foreign - James Kirkup


 
Stanza 1
Remember, no men are strange, no countries foreign
( . . . )
Is earth like this, in which we all shall lie.

In the first stanza of ‘No Men Are Foreign’ the poet says that “no men are strange” and “no country is foreign”. Using a very serious tone, he repeat an opinion/statement that all people are equal under the sky, for everyone breathes like everyone else. He feels that if borders are removed from Earth, no country will be foreign, and everyone will be free to move around. For the borders is something that separates countries from each other. The poet once again repeat/say that the entire Earth is one and the people “Beneath all uniforms” who live on this Earth belong to one human race for they are all “a single body breathes like ours”. Further, we have all walked upon the same ‘Earth’, and when we die, we will be buried in the graves on the same Earth.

Stanza 2
They, too, aware of sun and air and water,
( . . . )
A labour not different from our own.

In the second stanza of ‘No Men Are Foreign,’ the poet refers to the similarities between the people he belongs and the people from other countries. By ‘They’ he talks of people who belong to other countries. They too are aware of the “sun and air and water” which is the same to all on earth. When there is no war, we all do farming and enjoy the production/profit of the harvest (gathering of crops). In the same way, during wars and winter, we all starve (to suffer or die because you don't have enough food to eat). Further, with “their hands are ours” he conveys (send message) that people from different countries too have the same hands and work the same way as we and do. From all these examples, he suggests to the readers that there is no difference among the people belonging to different countries.

Stanza 3
Remember they have eyes like ours that wake
( . . . )
That all can recognise and understand.

In the third stanza of ‘No Men Are Foreign,’ the poet calls out the readers to remember that even the foreigners have the same eyes. Like the poet’s country people, they also use it to “wake or sleep,” marking the beginning and the end of their day. Similarly, we are given strength with that one can win through love. Moreover, in every land that is in every country, there is one common thing, that is life. If a person could recognize this universality (universal truth), then the poet says there will be no fights or wars between countries.

Stanza 4
Let us remember, whenever we are told
( . . . )
Remember, we who take arms against each other

The fourth stanza of ‘No Men Are Foreign’ ultimately reveals the central idea of the poem and the poet’s desire for peace among nations. He wants the readers, including himself to remember if someone hates the other in the name of the country, it is his own self the person hates. By hating “our brothers”, the fellow human beings, we deprive, cheat, and condemn (to say strongly that you think something is bad or good) our own selves. Further, he adds, when waging (start) war against each other, the loss is common to both the side. So, one must understand it before drawing weapons against the other.

Stanza 5
It is the human earth that we defile.
( . . . )
Remember, no men are foreign, and no countries strange.

In the fifth, concluding stanza, of ‘No Men Are Foreign’ he talks of the extended impact of war. War doesn’t affect just the lives on earth but it makes the Earth dirty. The fire and dust of war defile the pure air which is common to all the people on earth. Whenever war happens, it leads to a lot of bloodshed and death. The dead bodies accumulate on the Earth makes the innocent earth impure. Therefore, with all the situations considered the loss is common to all when we hate our fellow human beings. Since everyone is created equally on earth, he wants people to live in harmony. Finally, he repeats the first line “Remember, no men are foreign, and no countries strange” to revitalize (to make it strong) the idea that everything is common and everyone is equal on earth.

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