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I just signed up to respond to this. So... ...First Post! (of mine anyway). OK, 20 years ago I went to a talk by Stroustrup in Cambridge, UK. He critiqued C and said there were better macro processors available than CPP. After the talk I went up and asked him what he was referring to, and he said M4. So I learnt it and haven't regretted it. I've used it in non-C projects quite extensively. tl;dr I've reasonable experience using M4 and from that I strongly disagree with you objection. Stroustrup moreso. Yes, it's weird, but very capable. It lacks named parameters but I can live with that for what it does give me, which is arbitrary blocks of code without '\' at the end of every line, and recursion which is the biggie. But diversions, which allow you to 'put aside' some code until later, which are pretty good and there's loads more stuff. May I suggest you give it another try before dismissing it.

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