“ Prayer Before Birth” is a dramatic monologue, written by Louis Macneice at the height of the second world war. He takes on the form of a foetus, he does this to symbolise innocence and perfection. The poem is very complex, and can be perceived in many ways, you can think of it like an onion. It has lots of layers, and you peel them away. He makes a different point in every verse.
In the first verse, the foetus makes a plea for protection, “let not the blood-sucking bat, the rat, the stoat, or the club footed ghoul come near me”. All of these things were seen as evil when this poem was written. This verse tells us that the poet was worried about young children being left alone and uncared for.
This verse makes a very different point, it is showing Louis Macneice’s anger at the corruption of society, a line that states his concern is “ with wise lies lure me”. I found this verse quite complex and difficult to understand at first, but when I looked at it closely I came to understand its morals.
In the next verse, the baby asks to be provided for, it asks for food, water and to be guided by society. Louis Macneice was obviously anxious about young children being misguided and malnourished. Not just physically, but their minds being malnourished as well, as if they could be brainwashed by humanity.
In this verse, the foetus asks for forgiveness, but he has done nothing wrong. He is apologising for “ the sins his world may commit”, as if he thinks it will be his fault. This verse puts across the poets fury at the fact that society transfers its guilt, to its people.
In the next verse, the foetus almost begs for compassion, he states all the things that may be difficult in his life, and he asks for someone to give him friendship when times are hard. I can relate to this verse because I have felt alone before, and I feel this is one of the key verses.
I found this verse quite hard to understand, I think it is again a plea for protection. Except...