Ballad of the Unborn

The original version of this post was written and posted Monday, January 20, 2014.

When I first wrote this four years ago the death toll from abortions since 1973 stood at 50 million. I just checked the statistics as of today, and the number of abortions in America since the 1973, when Roe v. Wade was passed, is now approximately 60,089,665. By the time I finish typing this that number will go up. By the time you finish reading the post it will have risen even higher. Numbers are just numbers, a way to keep track of things. In this case, the numbers represent babies. Children killed by abortion. That’s 60,089,665 children killed. 

That is mind-numbingly horrifying. God help us.

Last October our friend, Ernie, stopped by a yard sale.  While browsing, he spotted a mug which appealed to him and picked it up for a closer inspection.  The mug was in great condition, but inside he found a folded piece of paper.  He carefully opened the lined paper, yellowed with age, to find a poem written in beautiful handwriting.  When he showed it to the seller she said he could take it with the purchase of the mug.

When he showed the poem to me I couldn’t get past the first stanza without tears.

I did a quick search online only to learn that this poem, “The Ballad of the Unborn” was written in 1972 by a woman named Fay Clayton.  The ballad is a cry for life from the first stanza to the last, illuminating the tragedy of each child lost to the evil of abortion in terms so touchingly real that I still can’t read it without crying.

Attempting only a superficial search for information on the author only turns up another woman with the same name who, in an ironically tragic twist, is an attorney in Chicago who, in 1994, successfully argued a reproductive rights case before the US Supreme Court and was therefore awarded the “Choice Award” by the Chicago Section of the National Council of Jewish Women.

“… Fay’s victory before the Supreme Court is one more step in securing a victory for reproductive choice and women’s right to choose, which we have supported for years.” Chicago Tribune, September 11, 1994

The irony of this woman fighting for the “right” for women to kill their own children is particularly highlighted for me because of annual Sanctity of Life Prayer Vigil we attended last night, sponsored by the church we have been visiting, Christ Presbyterian Church (PCA) in New Braunfels, Texas (we are now members).  In the field next to the church stands a Pro-life Memorial, a four-foot pedestal topped by an empty cradle, inscribed on each side with Scripture, and on the front a dedication to all the children lost to the sin of abortion.  Pastor Dick Jones said a few words, emphasizing from the book of Proverbs that we are to be actively doing something to end this modern holocaust, not waiting for someone else to end it.

“Rescue those who are being taken away to death; hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter.  If you say, “Behold, we did not know this,” does not He who weighs the heart perceive it?  Does not He who keeps watch over your soul know it, and will He not repay man according to his work?” (Proverbs 24:11-12)

Roe v. Wade is now 41 years old and more than 50 million babies have been sacrificed on its altar.  That number is too staggering to comprehend, so as you read this poem, simply picture a single playground empty of the children who might have run and played, who were instead killed before they drew their first breath.

Ballad of the Unborn


My shining feet will never run

On early morning lawn;

My feet were crushed before they had

A chance to greet the dawn


My fingers will never stretch

To touch the winning tape;

My race was done before I learned

The smallest steps to take


My growing height will never be

Recorded on a wall;

My growth was stopped when I was still

Unseen and very small


My lips and tongue will never taste

The good fruits of the earth;

For I myself was judged to be

A fruit of little worth


My eyes will never scan the sky

For my high-flying kite;

For when still blind, destroyed were they

In the black womb of the night


I’ll never stand upon a hill

Spring winds in my hair;

Aborted winds of thought closed in

On motherhood’s despair


I’ll never walk the shores of life

Or know the tides of time;

For I was coming but unloved,

And that my only crime


Nameless am I, a grain of sand

One of the countless dead,

But the deed that make me ashen grey

Floats on seas of red

(Fay Clayton, November 8th 1972)

I pray that this horror ends in our lifetime.  How many more children, O Lord, how many?


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