Birth Poems - Poems For Birth

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Prayer Before Birth - Poem by Louis Macneice

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.


Comments about Prayer Before Birth by Louis Macneice

  • Rookie Brian Mulundu (11/23/2015 6:38:00 PM)

    I was taught that peom by our english teacher Mrs M. Viogts (Report) Reply

    5 person liked.
    6 person did not like.
  • Gold Star - 133,175 Points Fabrizio Frosini (11/11/2015 1:10:00 PM)

    '' In the poem, Louis MacNeice expresses his fear at what the world's tyranny can do to the innocence of a child and blames the human race for the sins that in me the world shall commit. The poem also contains many religious themes and overtones through the use of double-imagery; the child could be seen as a metaphor for Christ, making reference to certain themes and events said to have occurred during his ministry on earth.

    There is great use of alliteration and assonance: strong drugs dope me, with wise lies lure me to create rhythm in the poem. Also repetition of I am not yet born is used to emphasise innocence. MacNeice also talks of being a cog in a machine - this shows that he feels that society will mould the child to become part of everything else around him, he will be worthless, insignificant and merely a part of an entire collaboration. ''


    The poem is an agonized plea from the mouth of an unborn infant in its mother's womb. The child seeks protection from the Divine and begs forgiveness for all the deeds of evil that it shall commit once it is out of the mother's protective care. Dramatic in intensity, the poem makes a sweeping statement on the deplorable state of the world. Living is a painful experience, being born is a terrifying one. The child's plea is a representation of the poet's anguish, grief and fear in a world that has steadily metamorphosed into a hell. The poet paints a picture of a world devoid of compassion, love and remorse through the haunting appeal of the unborn infant. The poem reflects the poet's utter dejection and hopelessness expressing the thought that the world will not correct itself, but perpetuate its evils in an ever-ascending spiraling pattern of violence. The foregone conclusion that the child will live a life of treason and its apology proffered in advance for its death after it has lived as a lethal automaton, offers a picture of a world akin to nothing but hell. [from WIKIPEDIA] (Report) Reply

  • Gold Star - 5,634 Points Soumita Sarkar (9/6/2015 9:49:00 AM)

    Excellent piece of write that..... the poet has delineated the age of mechanical slavery to the hardened humanity.....let not me born in such an age....where my death lives me...Thanks....Poets like you have kept hope alive for redemption. (Report) Reply

Read all 16 comments »

Poems About Birth

  1. 1. Prayer Before Birth , Louis Macneice
  2. 2. Birth Right Happiness , yoonoos peerbocus
  3. 3. Before The Birth Of One Of Her Children , Anne Bradstreet
  4. 4. The Angel That Presided O'Er My Birth , William Blake
  5. 5. The Birth Of Love , William Wordsworth
  6. 6. Birth-Dues , Robinson Jeffers
  7. 7. A Rose In Birth , s./j. goldner
  8. 8. Sonnet 91: Some Glory In Their Birth, So.. , William Shakespeare
  9. 9. On Stella's Birth-Day, 1719 , Jonathan Swift
  10. 10. Birth And Death , Algernon Charles Swinburne
  11. 11. Between Birth N Death , indira babbellapati
  12. 12. #(Buddha) 01 The Birth Of Gautama Bud.. , Rajaram Ramachandran
  13. 13. Soul's Birth , Sara Teasdale
  14. 14. On The Birth Of His Son , Su Tung-po
  15. 15. Sonnet 04: Not In This Chamber Only At M.. , Edna St. Vincent Millay
  16. 16. ##01 (Vivekananda) The Birth Of Hinduism , Rajaram Ramachandran
  17. 17. On My Wife's Birth-Day , Christopher Smart
  18. 18. ' ' ' ' ' Tarab(Poem For Onelia On The .. , Dónall Dempsey
  19. 19. Stella’s Birth-Day. 1724-5 , Jonathan Swift
  20. 20. Death And Birth , Algernon Charles Swinburne
  21. 21. A Birth-Day Wish , George MacDonald
  22. 22. Birth-Day Ode 03 , Robert Southey
  23. 23. *****birth Of A Verse , Seema Aarella
  24. 24. Birth-Day Ode 02 , Robert Southey
  25. 25. Birth-Day Ode 01 , Robert Southey
  26. 26. A Birth Of Poet , Hasmukh Amathalal
  27. 27. A Birth Day Wish*. , surya surya
  28. 28. To Mr. Thomas Southern, On His Birth-Day , Alexander Pope
  29. 29. A Poem For The Birth-Day Of The Right Ho.. , Anne Kingsmill Finch
  30. 30. A Birth-Night Song , Katharine Tynan
  31. 31. Stella’s Birth-Day.1719-20 , Jonathan Swift
  32. 32. Bec’s Birth-Day Nov. 8, 1726 , Jonathan Swift
  33. 33. An Ode Of The Birth Of Our Saviour , Robert Herrick
  34. 34. To Stella On Her Birth-Day, 1721-2 , Jonathan Swift
  35. 35. The Birth Of Man , Emma Lazarus
  36. 36. Sonnet Ii: Bridal Birth , Dante Gabriel Rossetti
  37. 37. The New Birth , Jones Very
  38. 38. Blind From My Birth , Christina Georgina Rossetti
  39. 39. A Pastoral Betwixt David, Thirsis, And T.. , James Thomson
  40. 40. Sonnet Xv: The Birth-Bond , Dante Gabriel Rossetti
  41. 41. My Unending Birth And Death , Dr. Sakti P. Chakravorty
  42. 42. Hope Is Like A Harebell Trembling From I.. , Christina Georgina Rossetti
  43. 43. ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' Birth Of The World(For.. , Dónall Dempsey
  44. 44. Britannia Rediviva: A Poem On The Birth .. , John Dryden
  45. 45. Birth Day , Elise Paschen
  46. 46. Death And Birth , George MacDonald
  47. 47. Birth And Death. , Robert Crawford
  48. 48. By Occasion Of The Young Prince His Happ.. , Henry King
  49. 49. The Birth Place Of Pleasure , Percy Bysshe Shelley
  50. 50. Letters From Women Given Up For Adoption.. , Joanne Monte
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