“Morning on the Farm” by Darius M. Ratcliff

Barn, Homestead of Charles Benton and Louise Mitteer Ratcliff, abt. 1910
Hurleyville, Sullivan County, New York


Its morning on the farm,

The day begins to break;

The creatures of the farm world

Are everywhere awake.

The roosters from their perches,

Now near, now far away;

Their challenges repeat

To greet the coming day.

A thousand little birds

Are singing in the trees:

Our friendly robin redbreast

Is loudest of all these.

A plaintive phoebe’s call

Is heard among the songs

Of many feathered songsters,

As she her note prolongs.

A mournful cuckoo adds

A doleful sweet  “oo-OO”

And sparrows chatter loudly

As days comes on anew.

A cow in distant pasture

Is lowing now and then;

And slowly from their dwellings

Come forth the world of men.

The milk pails in the milk house

Give out a cheery sound,

And noises from the big barns

Betray someone’s around.

And early in the morning

I come my Lord to thee.

I ask, O Lord, that thou

Will dwell today in me.

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


“Home” by Darius M. Ratcliff, October 10, 1944

Home of Charles Benton and Louise Mitteer Ratcliff, abt. 1910
Hurleyville, Sullivan County, New York


Dearest place of all the earth,

Place of childhood’s carefree mirth,

Place of father’s noble face,

Place of mother’s loving grace,

Place of brothers, sisters, too;

Loved one always, ever true.

All through life my heart returns,

For the old days often yearns;

But they served their purpose then,

Nor do they return again.

Still their riches I enjoy;

Nothing can their good destroy.

Many years have passed away

Since my home abiding day;

But that home is still the place

Where I find a loving grace;

And my heart is always there:

There are folks who really care.

When that home has passed away,

Still the light of its glad day

Linger will within my heart

Forming of my life a part.

Dreams will come with magic wings,

Bring again those blessed things.

God who gives me my glad home

While on earth a while I roam

Has a better home by far

Where saved in Jesus are.

That’s the home does never fade,

That’s the home for which we’re made.

That’s the home of grandest love,

Home of Christlike saints above.

That’s the home where come no tears,

Never partings, never fears.

That’s the home of peace and joy,

That’s the home nought can destroy.

In that home we’ll be revealed,

We who here by Christ are sealed.

Glory like the Christ’s we’ll share,

And His image always bear.

On that home I’ve set my heart,

Chosen thus the better part.

As a foretaste of that home,

Long before to it we come,

Stands the church of Christ on earth,

Entered by a second birth:

Where we’re loved and learn to love,

With a love like that above.

Boys of ours need homes out there.

Let them know you always care.

Help our church to make them feel

Our concern for them is real.

Point them to the home above;

Tell them of eternal love.


Photo above: From the personal collection of B.J. Johanningmeier

“Last Night I Sat Dreaming” and “Sitting at the Table” by Darius M. Ratcliff


Last night I sat a dreaming

My eyes with tears near streaming;

But now, I’m up and working

My life today not shirking,

For I must.

Earnest has just been here,

He talked of cow and steer;

His farm is on his mind,

And help is hard to find:

Work or bust.

Darius has written me,

That home he wants to see;

He wants to plan it so,

Before the fall of snow,

Here to be.

Warren was home last week

A little rest to seek,

He’s added horse and saw,

To practicing of law:

Gee and Haw.

Ralph o’ver all is crowing,

The joyful news he’s knowing,

A grandpa now is he

To a little tot so wee,

Pat our pet.

Frank is here today,

Till Monday he can stay;

A loyal son and true,

His kind are mighty few:

Fine, you bet.

Margaret comes tonight,

We’ll welcome her all right:

Of home she’s prop and stay,

She must not go away:

Grand, best yet.

God grant my children may

Repent and turn to God,

Receive His blessing daily,

Receive them through His blood.

God grant when time is over

All may be gathered there;

The father and the children

With me my joy to share.

Charles Benton and Louise Mitteer Ratcliff and Family

Back Row, Left to Right –  Darius, Charles Benton, Louise, Warren

Front Row, Left to Right – Ernest, Frank, Margaret, Ralph


I am sitting at the table, but to read I’m hardly able,

And my thoughts they are roaming, in the quiet of the glooming,

All so fast:

And the children come a trooping, and my head now low is drooping,

And my heart too nigh is aching, as my memory now is making

Real the past.

Here is Ernie coming in, with a smile and with a grin:

“It’s an old discarded can, and a portion of a pan,

For a boat.”

“I will solder them together, as a sail and then a rudder,

I will take them to the brook, you may come and have a look,

It will float.”

And Darius now is bringing yellow flowers while the singing

Of the birds in the trees tells to all that winter flees;

It is May:

He has wandered far away, for the posies bright and gay,

And he found them at last as some willow trees he passed,

Late today.

Yes there’s Warren with the paint, at the sight I once could faint;

From the cellar to the light, I bring up the dabbled sight,

Sad to say:

Now comes Ralph, pink and sunny, with his sayings cute and funny,

Over something he has stumbled, for his clothes show he has tumbled

In the hay.

Then comes Frankie, little fellow, with his hair so shining yellow,

And he climbs up in my lap, while his feet they almost tap

On the floor.

And our girlie, little tot, we do cherish her a lot;

With her dolls she can stay, and at visiting she can play,

Till its four.

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