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; O hear me,
Let not the man who is beast or who thinks he is God
Come near me.
- Louis MacNeice, from A Prayer Before Birth
Waking, he found himself in a train, andante,
With wafers of early sunlight blessing the unknown fields
And yesterday cancelled out, except for yesterday's papers
Huddling under the seat.
And the girl opposite, name unknown, is still
Asleep and the colour of her eyes unknown
Which might be wells of sun or moons of wish
But still it is very early.
The movement ends, the train has come to a stop
In buttercup fields, the fiddles are silent
And what happens next on the programme we do not know
- Louis MacNeice, from Slow Movement
'Aye, you are here now but you never know
Where you will be when you wake up.' I lay
Fearing the night through till the cock should crow
To tell me that my fears were swept away
And tomorrow had come again. So now I wake
To find that it is Norwich and All Saints' Day,
All devils and fancy spent, only an ache
Where once there was an anguish.
- Louis MacNeice, from Autumn Sequel