No Men Are Foreign
By James Kirkup
Analysis of the poem:
The poem ‘No Men
are Foreign’ is composed by James Kirkup, an English poet, translator and
The tone of the
poem is didactic as the poet teaches us to stay united and peaceful.
It is composed in
blank verse. The poem is divided in five quatrains (stanza of four lines). The
lines of poem don’t rhyme.
The theme is
‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ or universal brotherhood, cross border peace and
harmony. The theme of the poem highlights that all human beings are equal and
all are the children of one God, hence are brothers and sisters.
significant message is conveyed through the poem that we all should break the
boundaries and bridge the differences. The poet stresses that nations should
not be at war with each other. The poet appeals to the readers that we can win
others through love, and not war.
Summary / Synopsis
Starting the poem
with the word ‘remember’ the poet wants to lay stress from the opening lines
that we all belong to same world and earth is home of all the mankind.
· The poem emphasises that entire mankind are similar in physique and equal in their needs. No people are foreigner or strange just because they belong
to some other country. This earth is one big home for all humanity. All
divisions based on nation, caste, creed, colour, religion and language are created by man however, God has created all the creatures in same way and given them birth on same land. The soldiers may wear different uniforms and people may put on
variety of clothes but under these clothes they have same physique.
· We all have the same basic needs and we depend on the same resources such as air, food and water to fulfil our needs. People everywhere have
the same physical, mental and emotional needs and experiences.
· They are, in no way, different or strange even though
they wear different clothes, speak different languages and profess different
religions. If we harm
anyone, we harm ourselves because we all have same emotions and feelings. We must keep in our minds that if we think to destroy some other country, we are also posing the threat of destruction on our own land because if we wage war on other
country, we, ourselves, have allowed or invited other country to do destruction
· Since we are all same, we must not take arms against
any one because this way we spoil the purity of our hearts and innocence of our emotions. The
dust and smoke in war pollute the air and mix poison of hatred in our hearts. Moreover, people and countries can be won with love, and not by war. That’s why, violence of all kinds should be stopped. Throughout, the poet appeals us to live in peace and
harmony and dedicate ourselves to spread fraternity across the globe.
The theme of the
poem is reflected in its central idea. Throughout the poem the poet highlights
the theme of universal brotherhood and world peace. Very beautifully he tells
the mankind that we can win others with love and not by war.
The poet urges the
entire humanity to live in peace and harmony and bridge the difference based on
religion, culture or nationality strengthening solidarity and fraternity across
The poet is
composed in blank verse as the lines of the poem don’t rhyme.
Remember, no men are strange, no countries foreign – Refrain, Repetition
Beneath all uniforms, a single body breathes – Alliteration
Like ours: the land our brothers
walk upon – Alliteration
Is earth like this, in which we all shall lie – Assonance, Consonance
They, too, aware of
sun and air and water – Polysyndeton, Consonance
Are fed by peaceful
harvests – Transferred epithet
by war’s long winter starv’d –
Their hands are ours, and in their lines we read –
A labour not different from our own –
Remember they have eyes like ours that wake –
Or sleep, and strength that can be won – Alliteration, Assonance
By love. In every land is common life – Alliteration
That all can recognise and understand – Assonance, Consonance
To hate our brothers, it is ourselves – Assonance,
That we shall dispossess, betray, condemn – Asyndeton
It is the human earth that we defile – Assonance, Alliteration, Metaphor
of fire and dust outrage the innocence of
air – Metaphor
Remember, no men are foreign, and no countries strange – Refrain, Repetition
Important Question Answers
Remember, no men are strange, no countries foreign
Beneath all uniforms, a single body breathes
Like ours: the land our brothers walk upon
Is earth like this, in which we all shall lie.
(a) Who does the poet address in the poem? Name the
poetic device here.
(b) What does the word “uniform” refer to? How is
(c) What does the word ‘single’ mean?
d) ‘In which we shall all lie.’ Explain the
e) Which poetic device is used in first line?
f) What does the poet want us to remember?
Q2. Read the extract given below and answer the
questions that follow.
They, too, aware of sun and air and water,
Are fed by peaceful harvests, by war’s long winter
Their hands are ours, and in their lines we read
A labour not different from our own.
(a) Whom does the word ‘they’ refer to?
(b) What is the significance of the word ‘too’?
(c) What does the poet mean by ‘peaceful harvests’?
Which poetic device is used here?
(d) What does the poet want to convey through these
e) Why is war compared to long winter?