Let not young souls be smothered out before
They do quaint deeds and fully flaunt their pride.
It is the world’s one crime its babes grow dull,
Its poor are ox-like, limp, and leaden-eyed.
Not that they starve, but starve so dreamlessly;
Not that they sow, but that they seldom reap;
Not that they serve, but have no gods to serve;
Not that they die, but that they die like sheep.
Today's 'Poem of the Day' touches on a similar theme to McNeice's Prayer Before Birth... And actually has comparisons with the pre natal poems, of Plath (below). They all touch on the theme of the innocent babe, who will inevitably be effected by the world.
Prayer Before Birth is laid out to echo the waves of contractions during birth.
PRAYER BEFORE BIRTH