Louis MacNeice Poems

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Louis MacNeice
Louis MacNeice, poems selected by Michael LongleyFrederick Louis MacNeice (September 12, 1907 – September 3, 1963) was a British and Irish poet and playwright. He was part of the generation of "thirties poets" which included W. H. Auden, Stephen Spender and C. Day Lewis; nicknamed MacSpaunday as a group. His body of work was widely appreciated by the public during his lifetime, due in part to his relaxed, but socially and emotionally aware style. Never as overtly (or simplistically) political as some of his contemporaries, his work shows a humane opposition to totalitarianism as well as an acute awareness of his Irish roots. He wrote in the introduction to his Autumn Journal: “Poetry in my opinion must be honest before anything else and I refuse to be 'objective' or clear-cut at the cost of honesty.” Louis MacNeice (known as Freddie until his teens, when he adopted his middle name) was born in Belfast, the youngest son of John Frederick and Elizabeth Margaret ("Lily") MacNeice. Both were originally from the west of Ireland. Lily MacNeice died in December 1914 after a series of illnesses including uterine cancer, depression and finally tuberculosis (MacNeice later described the cause of his mother's death as "obscure", and blamed his mother's cancer on his own difficult birth). His brother William, who had Down's syndrome, had been sent to live in an institution in Scotland during his mother's terminal illness. Shortly after John MacNeice married Georgina Greer in early 1917, Louis's sister Elizabeth was sent to board at a preparatory school in Sherborne, England. Louis joined her in Sherborne preparatory school later in the year.

prayer before birth
I am not yet born; O hear me.
Let not the bloodsucking bat or the rat or the stoat or the
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