Louis Macneice

(12 September 1907 – 3 September 1963 / Belfast)

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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.
........................
........................
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Comments about this poem (Prayer Before Birth by Louis Macneice )

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  • Freshman - 1,353 Points Kay Staley (10/6/2014 11:10:00 AM)

    Love the language and alliteration and the unique style. Think how hard it would be to write something like this that actually made sense, as good as this one does! (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 180 Points Briony Nicholls (8/30/2014 10:30:00 AM)

    This is a brilliant poem that I will keep re-reading to gain more of its multi-faceted insights into how we are moulded and created. Unfortunately it is just as piercingly relevant today as it was back in 1944. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Fiona Powell (12/5/2013 6:12:00 PM)

    Still my favourite poem from when I first read it as a teenager 35 years ago. It is as relevant now - if not more so - than when it was first written in 1944. Check out more of MacNeice's stuff - it's very modern in thought, imagery and words. Bagpipe Music is another famous one. (Report) Reply

  • Freshman - 1,391 Points Kevin Patrick (10/6/2012 7:14:00 PM)

    Our Identity is influenced by a combination of genetics and environment, it impacts us and shapes us to be what we are, what I like about this is that Mr Macneice is feeling the conundrum of being something that he is not entirely comfortable with, he exists but is not alive as an entity of his own will but as an impulse of the greater world. He is trying to be a man without being compromised by the greater social order. At least thats how I interpret it, either way it’s a wonderful modern poem that says what it wants and can be read with thoughtful understanding. Regards (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Susanta Pattnayak (10/6/2012 7:20:00 AM)

    I am not yet born; O hear me....console me.... provide me....forgive me....rehearse me......
    ... O fill me
    With strength against those who would freeze my
    humanity
    .....
    Otherwise kill me.

    Simply, I love the poem! (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Nathi Vusi (3/19/2012 12:12:00 AM)

    This is a beautiful poem. I love it. I can almost hear the poet's thoughts while writing this poem, so strong and meaningful. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie H Fm (2/6/2010 7:23:00 PM)

    I love this poem - I must agree with Maureen, it has stayed with me for many years.
    Strange as this request might appear, I am looking for a serious translation of it into Polish if anyone can help?

    Many thanks
    H :) (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Maureen Travers (4/15/2007 1:41:00 PM)

    I first read this poem many years ago. It has stayed with me ever since (as all the best poems do) and I believe it has influenced my personal philosophy. I think that people have much more influence on other people, other creatures, the world, than many of us would like to believe. We all affect those around us just by being on earth. As a novice poet myself, I hope that someday my words may have a profound effect on at least one person. Surely that makes anyone's life worthwhile? (Report) Reply

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