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No Men Are Foreign
No Men Are Foreign is a poem with sharp perspective meaning written by English Poet, James Harold Kirkup.
James Harold Kirkup (1918 - 2009) is a famous English poet, skilled translator of verse and a distinguished travel writer, dramatist and auto biographer. Including autobiographies, novels, and plays, he wrote more than 45 publications. His first collection of poems, The Drowned Sailor at the Downs, was released in 1947. James Kirkup who had an honourable life, passed away on May 10, 2009.
The poem No Men Are Foreign showcases the idea of equality. The poet tries to create an impact among people that all men are the same and live under the same roof - The Earth. There should be no discrimination among people, everyone breathes the same air, and receives the same sunlight, birth and death everything is the same. The title, No Men are Foreign, itself reflects the central theme of the poem. The title resounds in the initial and final lines underlining the poet's belief that all men are the same.
To demonstrate the equality of all people the poet compared the physical similarities between people who reside in various locations of the world. He aims to spread the idea of fraternity among all people. The author of this poem wishes to convey to us that everyone on this planet is similar and they live the same lives and die in the same manner. Nature gives its best to everyone equally no matter what religion or caste you are.
Summary of the Poem
No Men are Foreign starts and end with the same line- Remember no men are strange, no countries foreign. The poet wishes to underline that all people living on this planet are the same, despite the disparities we have made via the construction of walls and fences, the use of other languages, and other means, such as borders and fences. Despite all the artificial distinctions between people, he is desperate for humanity to be together. Everyone suffers when a war or winter comes. God gave us a life of joy and human behaviour is responsible for the sorrows.
The poet further adds in the poem that we have the same physical characteristics and mental processes. He does a good job of explaining how there are no inherent distinctions among people. When we despise someone, he reminds the reader, we lie and hate ourselves. Additionally, when we use weapons against someone, we contaminate the Earth by leaving behind massive piles of dead bodies, which render them dirty. The poem gives us a message that it is the red blood that runs in all humans, no matter what, no man is born rich or poor, white or black, all are the kids of mother nature.
The poem No Men Are Foreign is a poem that shows the need for equality. All are born equal; all are precious to mother nature. It is human behaviour that creates discrimination among people that makes them take weapons against each other. The poet strictly conveys the message that all men are equal and if any war or winter comes it adversely affects everyone regardless of caste, religion, boundary etc.
Questions and Answers
Q.1.1. ‘Beneath all uniforms…’ What uniforms do you think the poet is speaking about?
Q.1.2. How does the poet suggest that all people on earth are the same?
Ans. 1.1. The poet talks about the many costumes that individuals in other countries wear, but that the human body is the same underneath them all.
1.2. Nobody is unusual or different, the poet claims. No nation is alien. Underneath every uniform, a single body breathes. Additionally, the land is uniform throughout.
Q. Mention any four ways in which we all are alike.
Ans. Those four words are: we walk, we breathe, we have eyes, we work with our hands.
Q. How many common features can you find in stanza 2? Pick out the words.
Ans. The common characteristics listed in the second stanza: sun, air, water, peaceful harvests required for human survival and same hands
Q. ‘… whenever we are told to hate our brothers….’ When do you think this happens? Why? Who ‘tells’ us? Should we do as we are told at such times? What does the poet say?
Ans. Sometimes egotistical people provoke innocent people to harm others for their gain. The common man becomes enraged by his fellow humans because he cannot comprehend their tricks when they instruct them to start riots. The poet advises against blindly acting on advice without giving it a careful thought. The poet asserts frequently that there is no distinction between them and outsiders and that all people on the planet are the same.
Q. What is the structure of the poem?
Ans. Free verse was used to write the poem No Men Are Foreign, hence there is no specific rhyme pattern. Overall, it is composed of twenty lines that are broken into five quatrains.
Q. When the poet uses the phrase by war's long winter starved, what does he mean?
Ans. Since all agricultural output stops when a conflict breaks out in a nation, that nation faces the possibility of hunger. War makes a land barren, just like in winter. People die of starvation. Thus, conflict and cold are linked to starvation.
Q. What exactly do you mean when you say hells of fire and dust?
Ans. The results of using bombs and other weapons in battle are hells of fire and dust. They contaminate the clean air we breathe.
Q. How can we overcome our opponents' superior strength?
Ans. Because everyone reacts to love and values a sense of brotherhood, love can overcome our opponents' might rather than using raw force.
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