Wednesday, July 20, 2016

"Did You Know?

Why would a 17th-century writer warn people that a chapel was only for "private or secret suffrages"? Because in addition to the meanings listed above, "suffrage" has been used since the 14th century to mean "prayer" (especially a prayer requesting divine help or intercession). So how did "suffrage" come to mean "a vote" or "the right to vote"? To answer that, we must look to the word’s Latin ancestor, suffragium, which can be translated as "vote," "support," or "prayer." That term produced descendants in a number of languages, and English picked up its senses of "suffrage" from two different places. We took the "prayer" sense from a Middle Frenchsuffragium offspring that emphasized the word’s spiritual aspects, and we elected to adopt the "voting" senses directly from the original Latin."  


My vote, so precious, I give
To honor those who fought for my right
To voice my choice for society's path.
It's a symbol of hope, perhaps more of a wish,
Not just for my family, my country, but for all.

My vote, so precious, I give
With wavering faith,
Knowing the majority is not always right,
That politics is not a harmonious song
But a fight, (whose rules are not always just)
To win the power to direct
History's course, not for one, but for all.

My vote, so precious , I give
Aware of the system's imperfections,
As I transform that voting booth
Into a chapel, where my choice becomes
A prayer, not just for my family, my country
But for the good of all.

(For Poets United where Susan prompts us to write about suffrage.)


  1. style is the man; purity shines through every word Myrna making the poem so sublime and reflecting your beautiful heart...

  2. That is an interesting bit of history about the origin of the word. This time, as never before, one needs prayer alongside the casting of the ballot. I LOVE your poem and, especially, the repeated line "My vote, so precious, I give." One's vote is very precious. A beautiful poem, Myrna.

  3. "As I transform that voting booth
    Into a chapel, where my choice becomes
    A prayer"

    Wow. I really like that.

  4. You remind us beautifully of the notion of suffrage and prayer - and I think if we were honest and true what we vote for can only be what we feel is right for the ones we love...that is what counts..

  5. I love the duty and honor with which you refer to voting. An excellent poem!

  6. It's a very good poem and an informative text too.

  7. Now is all others felt the same way we might get the government and leaders we deserve. Sadly most voters think "What is in it for me?" You poem however is beautiful.

  8. So well put... I agree..these days votes go in with a prayer that things should work out for the good of all. But when you look wonder if that prayer is being heard.

  9. Wow. Your poem makes the vote more precious and prayerful, no matter how imperfect the system. At the same time, seeing the voting booth as a chapel doesn't negate the fact that protest and/or revolution may also be needed/prayerful. I love your research and your poem with its powerful refrain.

  10. This is truly beautiful. If only more people treated their precious vote as a prayer...