Poem Hunter
Prayer Before Birth
(12 September 1907 – 3 September 1963 / Belfast)

Prayer Before Birth

I am not yet born; O hear me.
Let not the bloodsucking bat or the rat or the stoat or the
club-footed ghoul come near me.

I am not yet born, console me.
I fear that the human race may with tall walls wall me,
with strong drugs dope me, with wise lies lure me,
on black racks rack me, in blood-baths roll me.

I am not yet born; provide me
With water to dandle me, grass to grow for me, trees to talk
to me, sky to sing to me, birds and a white light
in the back of my mind to guide me.

I am not yet born; forgive me
For the sins that in me the world shall commit, my words
when they speak me, my thoughts when they think me,
my treason engendered by traitors beyond me,
my life when they murder by means of my
hands, my death when they live me.

I am not yet born; rehearse me
In the parts I must play and the cues I must take when
old men lecture me, bureaucrats hector me, mountains
frown at me, lovers laugh at me, the white
waves call me to folly and the desert calls
me to doom and the beggar refuses
my gift and my children curse me.

I am not yet born; O hear me,
Let not the man who is beast or who thinks he is God
come near me.

I am not yet born; O fill me
With strength against those who would freeze my
humanity, would dragoon me into a lethal automaton,
would make me a cog in a machine, a thing with
one face, a thing, and against all those
who would dissipate my entirety, would
blow me like thistledown hither and
thither or hither and thither
like water held in the
hands would spill me.

Let them not make me a stone and let them not spill me.
Otherwise kill me.

User Rating: 4,0 / 5 ( 109 votes ) 30

Other poems of MACNEICE (15)

Comments (30)

Great poem. If he were alive he could add " Don't let the abortionist come near me."
Very nicely depicted louis
Like it or don't like it. Try and understand it or don't. I don't care how you feel about it, but it bothers me that so many of you think it's about abortion.
I am reminded of Mark Twain here: Don't go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first. Also it has a ring of false sentimentality about it that I do not like at all. A certain kind of immorality. One could also consider it to be an abortion propaganda piece. I'm not sure about abortus but I AM against all forms of propaganda. 😁
shuo zhe shou la ji de dou mei you ma ma de fei wu, gu er men
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