#FF Poem of the Week

A Prayer Before Birth by Louis MacNeiceSelected poems

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.

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