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 travel writer.
§ 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.
§ A very 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 upon us.
· 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 globe.
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 – Alliteration, Metaphor
Their hands are ours, and in their lines we read – Repetition
A labour not different from our own – Consonance
Remember they have eyes like ours that wake – Alliteration
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, Consonance
That we shall dispossess, betray, condemn – Asyndeton
It is the human earth that we defile – Assonance, Alliteration, Metaphor
Our hells of fire and dust outrage the innocence of air – Metaphor
Remember, no men are foreign, and no countries strange – Refrain, Repetition