Poetry of Kansas
 

A Woman Suffrage Plea

In a little eastern village, and with-
    in a sacred dome,
Where the people met to worship
    from each hamlet and each home;
Were united in the bonds of love, a
    man and maiden gay;
And they went to build a Kansas
    home on the prairie far away.
Now the man, though good in most
    things, one grave fault did to him
    cling.
He thought he owned the woman
    when he gave to her the ring.
He also thought to prove it for the
    preacher said that day,
"I to this man now give you; you
    must cherish and obey."
 
So it happened, as they settled in a
    Kansas town out west,
She thought she was his partner in
    all things their home had blessed.
And she thought to save for rainy
    days, in this they would agree,
To save as God had blessed them
    and to know how much 'twould be.
But he said "The house is yours to
    keep, I'll provide the way,
It matters not for you to know if
    you've enough today.
Just glide along, I'll manage things,
    you're not to know or care
What future holds for you and me;
    I've warned you, now beware."
And the woman kept on hoping that,
    some day she'd have things neat,
And when they were old their in-
    come would insure enough to eat.
 
She only hoped she never knew if
    days brought weal or woe;
She long since ceased to ask about
    their finance, for you know
He'd only say in his gruff way, "Ah!"
    and slam the door,
And then he'd hardly speak to her
    for just a day or more.
 
Now tell me, do you think in life a
    woman should agree
To cast aside her care and pride and
    all her liberty,
Does she lay down at the altar all her
    privilege to know
If clouds hang dark about them and
    would bring weal or woe;
Must she be content and never know
    if rainy days may come?
They may storm the tide and onward
    glide and yet possess a home.
This question is a problem to many a
    woman given,
Whose life is linked with doubt that
    they from home be driven.
 
How can she be contented and trust
    God for the rest?
Can she live on from day to day and
    will her home be blessed?
Or should she take a stand just firm
    and say, "I am your wife,
And a partner in all trials and all
    problems of your life.
We have formed a partnership for
    life, it's no one-sided game,
I'll take my share of toil and care
    and also half the blame
If things go wrong, if we but build
    together for us all;
Which must be neat and made com-
    plete, although it may be small."
 
This is her plea but O! tell me, where
    will it ever end?
I'd be glad to know what you think
    for Oh!
This woman is my friend.

__Nettie Squire Sutton.

A Book of Poems
Nettie Squire Sutton
(Minneapolis, KS: Messenger Press. n.d.)
Page 24
 

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October 15, 2002 / John & Susan Howell / Wichita, Kansas / howell@kotn.org

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