“Dreams” by Darius M. Ratcliff


In the land of my dreams, where what isn’t real seems

I’ve scaled lofty cliffs and clung to mere shelves,

I have seen the sheer depths yawning below

And clung for my life to my tiny rock ledge;

I’ve slipped from my ledge, I’ve felt myself go.

In the land of my dreams, where all possible seems,

I’ve run like the deer, scarce touching the ground,

I’ve jumped towering fences and buildings with ease;

I’ve leeped scores of yards amazing onlookers,

And at last I’ve sailed out right over the trees.

In the land of my dreams where dreadful things seem,

I once saw a great cat in a far reaching barn

A stalking my way, and I had no place to flee,

The cat was far greater than African lion,

But I wakened in time, he never reached me.

In the land of my dreams where fulfillment oft seems,

The sweetheart of old comes a smiling again;

And now she is beaming, her eyes speak of love,

I have won her at last, the dream has come true,

But now she has joined what dreams are made of.

In the land of my dreams where romance real seems,

I have met such sweet girls, and enjoyed glad romance,

I have looked in blue eyes and thrilled with their spell,

I have their sweet voices a whispering of love,

And regretted that waking has sounded their knell.

In the land of my dreams where pleasures real seem,

I have found swimming pools in come magic glen,

And I’ve dived to their depths enjoying the feel,

And I’ve swum with the speed for which oft I have yearned: –

I wish for just once this dream could be real.

In the land of my dreams where anything seems,

I have seen swarms of snakes, just coming my way;

If I killed one or two, there were multitudes left:

I’d have spotted monsters, and rattlesnakes too,

And I’ve wished for a dream with all snakes bereft.

In the land of my dreams when what is past present seems,

I’ve been engaged to a girl in a far away place,

Awaiting the day, awaiting my bride,

And then I have known, that years have since fled:-

“My sweetheart is lost”. She is here at my side.

Ethel Lepine Fulton Ratcliff, Age 18

Wife of Darius Mitteer Ratcliff,

New Jersey, 1904

Photo above – Source: Personal photo collection of B.J. Johanningmeier

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