It is true that every man is a nation
unto himself, though no man be an island,
but forms alliances, makes his enemies,
his territory marked by distinct boundaries;
and in collaboration with his peers,
a distinct entity of nation emerges.
The individuality of nation
is like to a single man whose many parts
function as one, a corpus with a head
that organises its parts, speaks for it
in the assembly of nations, makes a case
for peace, as a man among his neighbours.
Or as a man a nation will rise up:
in olden times its head the king would guide
the people’s destiny as his corpus, they
would fight his wars and make his conquests,
the integrity of the land enshrined
in his name, title of royal majesty.
Later, an elected government with its head
would depose the autocracy of royalty,
transplanting a new head on the same corpus,
one that spoke for it, a system whereby
a populace in political parties became
by common consent the one nation governed.
And so it appears a kind of equilibrium
has set in, the earth’s surface a patchwork
of nations where they squat, in all shapes
and surface areas of land, bespeaking each
the identity of its people, a spirit
of nation served by generations of man.