Tag Archives: James Kirkup

No Men Are Foreign

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.
They, too, aware of sun and air and water,
Are fed by peaceful harvests, by war’s long winter starv’d.

James Kirrup starts off his poem by advising the readers to remember that no men are strange for we are all one. No matter what our skin colour, no countries are foreign for we are all inhabitants of the planet. Beneath all uniforms, all dress, we are a single body that breathes equally the same. All of us from all the countries walk on the land of the same planet and in the same land where we shall be laid to rest once we die. The people from other countries are aware of the Sun, air and water just like us. We are all fed by peaceful harvests and all of us starve due to wars which are like a long winter with no food.

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
By love. In every land is common life
That all can recognise and understand.

The poet says that all of our hands, even those in different countries have hands like ours. They also work like us to earn their bread. Their labour and work are not that different from ours. They have eyes like ours that wake up and sleep just like we do. They have the strength that can be won and conquered by love. Every land has a common life that people from any corner of the Earth can recognise and understand.

Let us remember, whenever we are told
To hate our brothers, it is ourselves
That we shall dispossess, betray, condemn.
Remember, we who take arms against each other

The poet asks us to remember that whenever we are told to hate our brothers from different lands, it is ourselves we shall dispossess for we are all members of the big family that is planet Earth. We will betray and condemn ourselves if we take up arms against each other. The poet asks us to stay in harmony and peace so that we can all prosper together.

It is the human earth that we defile.
Our hells of fire and dust outrage the innocence
Of air that is everywhere our own,
Remember, no men are foreign, and no countries strange.

The poet makes us aware that it is our own Earth that we defile and destroy when we wage wars. When we fight against other countries, the destruction caused by our weapons rage hell on Earth and kill the innocent. It destroys the air of our Earth that is our own. We must remember that we are all the same in the end and all the countries are members of the same family of the planet Earth. Thus we must live in peace and prosper together.