• Prayer before Birth (to be linked with article on WWII)


    Prayer before Birth by Louis Mc Neice


    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.


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