Summary of James Kirkup’s No Men are Foreign

No Men are Foreign is a poem written by James Kirkup. It is a beautiful poem that spreads the message of peace and harmony by telling us that all men are the same and there is no difference between them. Therefore, we should not hate and fight one another. The poem tells us that all the divisions which are based on nation, caste, creed, color, or religion have no base because all human beings are equal before God and humanity. Since we are all same, we must shun violence of all kinds and unite to make our lives better.

Short Summary

In this poem, the poet says that no men are strange and no countries are foreign. Under the different uniforms, all human beings are the same. The man-made boundaries are superficial. We all walk on the same earth and after death, all people lie under the same earth. All human beings breathe in a similar manner. All people enjoy the same sun, air, and water. All have similar hands and the labour done by all is also similar. Moreover, the eyes that they possess also wake and sleep like ours.

Therefore, the poet says that when we hate one another, we betray humanity. By raising arms against each other, we defile the earth that belongs to all of us. When we drop bombs on one another, the fire and dust rising from them outrage the innocence of the air that belongs to all of us. Therefore, we should remember that no man is foreign and no countries are strange.


The poet tells us why we must not hate our brothers and sisters who live in different countries. He asks us never to forget that people living in other countries are not strange or unfamiliar. They may fight for the army of their country, but beneath the uniform, we are all similar. All human bodies live and breathe in the same fashion. We are all brothers because we walk upon the same earth that we have divided into countries. We all shall meet the same earth in the end where we shall be buried after death.

The poet says that all the people of the world are nourished and nurtured equally by the elements of nature like the sun, air, and water. Everyone is united by the sameness of spirit. Like us, the people of other countries too enjoy the harvest in peaceful times and dread starvation caused by long-drawn wars. They too toil to earn livelihood and their destiny is similar to ours.

The poet urges us to remember that the so-called strange and foreign people sleep and wake as we do. Like us, they too can be won over by love and not by force. Their experiences of life are similar to that of ours. Hence we all find something familiar in each other’s life and identify with each other.

Whenever we are asked by our leaders or our rulers to hate or exploit the people of other countries we must remember that this hatred will have a negative effect on us. It is a form of self-destruction. If we kill people of any other country, we are endangering human beings as a whole and their survival on earth. We would find ourselves cheated as it would deprive us of the bliss of universal brotherhood. We would condemn ourselves to a life of enmity and strangeness.

The poet once again reminds us that war is futile and it spoils the very earth for which we take up arms against each other. The loss is common to all. The deadly weapons emit fire and ashes that spread all over and pollute the environment. This robs the air of its purity and the world becomes a more difficult place to live in. It is therefore imperative not to consider any human being as foreign and any country as strange. Everything is common and everyone is equal on earth. Hence we must build mutual respect and trust

Try aiPDF, our new AI assistant for students and researchers