“Trip to Grandmother’s II – Fall, 1942” by Darius M. Ratcliff

Canandaigua Lake, between Canandaigua and Naples,  Ontario County, New York

TRIP TO GRANDMOTHER’S  II

Fall 1942

 All day long those wipers swing,

All day long the rain drops cling,

And then slip down and disappear,

Here wind can toss them to the rear.

All day long in the road side gutter,

The rain strikes sown with tossing sputter.

All day long the rain gray sky,

Seems pressing down to the hill tops nigh.

All day long the trucks come zooming,

Out of the rain made mist glooming:

All day long the cars come gliding,

And to our rear so quickly sliding.

My life is like this rainy trip,

Where every thing’s with wet adrip.

The days frown by with sorrow and pain:

My heart fights back ‘gainst storm and rain.

But I keep the road to the home of God,

I hold my feet to the part Christ trod.

No storm of earth can my faith subdue,

Nor ever close out the heavenly view.

Though storm crushed now, I’ll not complain,

I know what lies beyond the rain:

A goal’s placed there by the God above,

That will make plain  He’s a God of love.

It may be now that joys draw near,

Exceeding those to my heart so dear;

But if grief still my heart must test,

I know full well it’s for the best.

I bathe myself in the gospel light,

My heart find strength in His word’s might:

And I have joy in promised peace;

And I can wait till troubles cease.

And I press on this blood marked way,

And I wait the perfect day,

And I’ll sing now my hymn of praise,

And I’ll thank God for the rainy days.
Photo Above: Source – Personal postcard collection of B.J. Johanningmeier

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“Trip to Grandmother’s I – Fall, 1942” by Darius M. Ratcliff

The Cut on Highway 64 and 21
Naples, Ontario County, New York

TRIP TO GRANDMOTHER’S  I

Fall 1942

The morn’s beclouded, the sun’s enshrouded;

Lone crows are waking, and still flights taking.

We meet, and drive away together,

All in October’s bright blue weather.

The colored brake skirts tinted lake,

While quiet rills pierce flaming hills.

We see, and ride along together,

All in October’s bright blue weather.

In upland beds gleam sumac reds:

Where grape leaves fade, glow grape blue shade:

We look, and ride along together,

All in October’s bright blue weather.

Near buckwheat fields with fruitful yields,

Are herds now grazing no heads upraising.

We gaze, and ride along together,

All in October’s bright blue weather.

Long maple rows where the high way goes,

Are maples sheen, in distance seen.

We see, and ride along together,

All in October’s bright blue weather.

Dry corn husks sear, betray no ear,

Where pumpkins round bestrew the ground.

We look, and ride along together,

All in October’s bright blue weather.

Gay brilliant splashes, form color clashes

Where woodlands high just meet the sky.

We gaze and ride along together,

All in October’s bright blue weather.

The silent face of a deserted place,

An inviting home for a haunting gnome.

We see, and ride along together,

All in October’s bright blue weather.

A wind’s quick rush, through tangled brush,

Bring starling flocks, from ripe corn shocks.

We look, and ride along together,

All in October’s bright blue weather.

No hues ablaze in purple haze,

Like flaming seas in evening’s breeze.

We gaze, and ride along together

All in October’s bright blue weather.

These pleasing miles, with autumn smiles,

Have led at last, to a day that’s past.

We pause, and ride along together,

All in October’s bright blue weather.

A bonfire bright in the falling night,

Shows a loving pair, who romance share.

We smile, and ride along together,

All in October’s bright blue weather.

A sweet goodnight in the star’s pale light,

And the day is done, that with joy was run.

In dreams, we’ll ride along together,

All in October’s bright blue weather.

What beauties rare, will please us there,

What joys complete, will glad hearts greet,

When saints come riding home together,

All in the home land’s bright blue weather.

“Canandaigua Lake II” by Darius M. Ratcliff

Canandaigua Lake at Woodville, Ontario County, New York

CANANDAIGUA LAKE II

As your charms I recall

With a halo o’ver all,

This one question rises,

“Are you of God’s prizes?”

Will your charms’s fond reach

Assist me to preach?

Will your beauties mild sway,

Enable to pray?

Will your long winding shore

Make me love God the more?

Will your glories at night,

Turn my heart to the right?

Is the great God of fish,

All that mortals can wish?

Can your beauties man teach?

Man for God can you reach?

Is our pleasure our aim?

Was for this that we came?

Peace with God can you give?

Or bid mountains to live?

God’s scroll is unfurled,

“You must love not the world,”

The reply back is hurled,

“Nor the things of the world.”

So your beauties today,

That are passing away,

As a means I may use,

In my work I may fuse.

I must give all my love

To the one God above;

I must serve while I may,

I must serve while ‘tis day.

I must leave you alone

On your cold bed of stone,

I must linger no more

By your whispering shore.

I must leave the gay throng

On your shore spread along;

To the work on the hill

God is calling me still.

I’m a pilgrim while here,

And to me nought is dear

Not the fairest of views,

I must bid all adieus.

I must live for Christ’s sake,

And not for my lake;

So I’ll press along still

To my work on the hill.

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

 

“Canandaigua Lake I” by Darius M. Ratcliff


Canandaigua Lake, Ontario County, New York

CANANDAIGUA LAKE I

As I ride along on the road on the hill

I catch a sight gladly that gives me a thrill,

Tis the lake, my own lake, that I love for the beauty

That for years she has shed on the path of my duty.

Today you are gray, like the gray ashen sky,

But I’ve seen your face lovely in the days that are by:

I have seen your face mottles with bright pastel shades,

Your rich colors scarce equaled by gay flower parades.

I have seen changing greens and such beautiful blues,

That I’m sure no artist could capture such hues;

I have seen your dull grays and such Stygian black,

That it seemed primal night was come back again.

On cold winter mornings I have seen your low mist

Ranging close to your bosom by the frost king kissed:

On warm summer eves I’ve seen your haze curtain

So envelope your face that form was uncertain.

On warm summer eves I have seen your light haze

Be dimming your surface and losing your bays:

On long winter nights I have felt your strong chill,

Till I thought your cold breath my heartbeat would still.

I have heard your strong waves on Black Point a-pounding,

Till it seemed the whole lake from its depths was resounding:

When the winters were long I have seen your ice abound

And of all your sweet voices there was never a sound.

In the trout fishing season, I have seen scores of lights,

On your dim surface riding, like stars in the heights:

I have seen your fair face so brightly a-trembling,

That is seems to me gazing like heaven resembling.

On wan heights I have gazed at the long shining track,

When the moon rested low over old Whale Back:

And I’ve seen your small waves all glisten and glimmer,

And in moon light gay they did sparkle and shimmer.

When in summer I’ve invaded your deep watery home,

I have felt your cool bosom caressing my own:

And I’ve felt your soft kiss on the light riding boat,

As o’ver your night waters it did joyously float.

I have felt the strong lift of your waves when they tower,

And I’ve been afraid of their death dealing power:

I have seen your white caps tossed high in the air,

And I’ve looked to the shore, and wished I were there.

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

 

 

“June Evening” by Darius M. Ratcliff, June 6,1944

South end of Canandaigua Lake, Bare Hill and Vine Valley, looking toward Canandaigua, New York

JUNE EVENING

Its evening on the farm,

The sounds of day are still;

Down by the woodland pasture

There calls a ship-poor-will.

(Actually beyond Sennett’s at Bristol Springs)

The trees beyond the gate,

Back giants of the night; (The Park)

With dense and inky mass

Shut all the north from sight.

A little mother owl

Must have a home nearby;

Her fuzzy furry brood

Wake up with dismal cry.

There’s one upon our house

(He also came down on the porch later.)

Exploring with big eyes;

A silent little ball

Outlined against the skies.

In darkened fields around

Are tiny flashing lights;

Wee firefly decorations

Of calm sweet summer nights.

The low melodious music

Of gentle evening’s breeze

Is whispered softly downward

From tops of rustling trees.

The daylight world’s asleep;

The farmers are in bed.

My thoughts to God I turn

By evening’s magic led.

Tonight God seems so near

I almost touch His hand.

There’s mystery in God,

More than I understand.

Photo above: Source – From the personal postcard 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

HOME

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

“Down Where the River Flows” by Darius M. Ratcliff

Joseph Martin Kronheim‘s (1810-1896) Baxter process illustration of Revelation 22:17


DOWN WHERE THE RIVER FLOWS

 

The summer day is warm and fair,

And balmy sweetness fill the air,

And beauties greet me everywhere.

Away with toil! Away with care!

Down where the river flows,

Down where the river flows.

An old, old man with withered look

Is wading slow the running brook,

And casting out a line and hook,

And searching every quiet nook;

Down where the river flows,

Down where the river flows.

A farmer lad is whistling gay;

He tosses out some new mown hay

In lowland meadows where they lay

Along the river’s winding way;

Down where the river flows,

Down where the river flows.

The music running waters make,

As they o’ver stones in ripples break

Some childhood’s long lost memories wake

And I must still my lone heart ache;

Down where the river flows,

Down were the river flows.

Some wading birds with wagging tails

Are searching in the river shales

Perhaps for bugs or tiny snails,

Or what to them for food avails,

Down where the river flows,

Down where the river flows.

A church bell sounds a solemn call.

The saints of God now worship all.

The hopes of old I must recall.

My heart turns pleasures into gall;

Down where the river flows,

Down where the river flows.

They bear the burdens of the day.

For such as I they meet to pray.

They now deny some pleasures gay,

The things they know will pass away;

Down where the river flows,

Down where the river flows.

Shall I go down the world’s broad way

While others for salvation pray?

And shall I live in pleasures gay

While others work while its today;

Down where the river flows,

Down where the river flows.

No, I will now in tears repent,

Although the years my God has lent

I have in selfish ways misspent

I know the Lord for me was sent;

Down where the river flows,

Down where the river flows.


Image above retrieved from:
http://www.theworkofgodschildren.org/collaboration/index.php?title=File:The_Sunday_at_Home_1880_-_Revelation_22-17-_Joseph_Martin_Kronheim.jpg

Source: The Sunday at Home: A Family Magazine for Sabbath Reading, 1880 [collected volume], London, Religious Tract Society, Paternoster Row, 164 Picadilly.
Description: Joseph Martin Kronheim’s (1810 – 1896) Baxter process illustration of Revelation 22:17 from page 366 of the 1880 omnibus printing of The Sunday at Home.

“At Church” by Darius M. Ratcliff

Young girl going to church, Bologna, 16th century (1859-1860)
by Etienne Huyot, Engraver


AT CHURCH

Vonda with the pale rose coat,

And hair so flowing soft;

Your girlish face is sweet and fair

As you glance upwards oft.

Are you to your own parents dear

As my child is to me?

And do they for you dream and pray,

Wherever you may be?

Just what may be your thought today,

As you the sermon hear?

Do peace and joy possess your heart

As you to Christ draw near?

And have you seen the cross of Christ?

And have you with Him died?

To all the world does offer you,

That you might His abide?

And do you have the SPIRIT, child?

And do you through Him LIVE?

And do you serve the Christ, my dear?

Your all in service give?

And sees some youth in all his dreams

Sweet visions of that face?

And is he praying for the day,

When he will you embrace?

Is there somewhere a sailor lad,

A boy who’s won your heart?

In all your dreams of future days,

Does this one have a part?

To fathom those deep thoughts of yours,

I know I never can:

For God has made you, you, you see,

And made me just a man.

Image above retrieved from:
http://digitalgallery.nypl.org/nypldigital/id?811554

Image Title:  Young girl going to church, Bologna, 16th century
Creator : Huyot, Etienne, b. 1808 — Engraver
Published Date: 1859-1860
Original Source: From Costumes anciens et modernes : habiti antichi e moderni di tutto il mondo.(Paris : Firmin Didot, 1859-1860) Vecellio, Cesare (ca. 1521-1601), Author.
 Source: Mid-Manhattan Picture Collection / Costume — 1500s — Italian

“Now I Dream of Heaven” by Darius M. Ratcliff

Soul Carried to Heaven by William-Adolphe Bouguereau (1825 – 1905)

NOW I DREAM OF HEAVEN

 

And now I dream of heaven,

Of heaven bright and fair:

I know it won’t be long

Before my welcome there.

I’m old I know, past eighty,

My friends have gone before;

I’ll not be sad nor lonely

Upon the glory shore.

Through life my God has been

So very good to me;

To Him I must be grateful,

As grateful as can be.

My Bible tells how all

Are lost in sin and woe;

Yet how in Christ we can

Be saved while here below.

I’ve cast myself on Him,

A sinner at His feet;

I trust His grace to give me

Salvation full complete.

As he on earth did suffer

On cross atonement make

I shall now live forever

Accepted for his sake.

I’m very near the river

Near my eternal home,

Where I shall joy forever

Before my Savior’s throne.

Image above retrieved from:

Source: http://www.oceansbridge.com/oil-paintings/product/55530/soulcarriedtoheaven

“I Wonder” by Darius M. Ratcliff

For Such is the Kingdom of Heaven by Frank Bramley, 1891

I WONDER

Written after talking to a woman who wondered why misfortune happened to her. She had not been so bad.

 

I wonder at my burdened lot:

I have not been so bad.

I thought perhaps I’d happy be,

That life would make me glad.

I’d dreamed such happy dreams in youth: –

In those blessed golden years.

I’ve seen my hopes all withered die

Amid bitter tears.

I saw the undeserving gain

The things I so had sought:

The wicked blessed and happy too:-

It seemed they should have nought.

The sands of time are running out,

My hopes have proved in vain:

I have no longer time nor strength

My goals to now attain.

I looked today and saw anew

A figure on a cross.

He left the gains and joys of heaven

For such an awful loss.

I know at last that I have sinned.

My pride had made me blind

To deep rebellion in my heart,

To worldliness of mind.

He gave Himself for sins of mine;

For He no difference knew;

For all have sinned and fallen short,

And must be born anew.

All this he did to save me from

This present evil world;

And here I am bemoaning sore

The loss of such a world.

My life is hid with Christ in God,

And Christ is now my all;

My gain is everlasting life,

My loss is earthly, small.

In heaven I my treasures store

Where nothing can destroy;

When earthly treasures all dissolve

My treasures I’ll enjoy.

If I am put to grief today

While living here on earth,

I’ll count that grief far better than

The world’s poor passing mirth.

If I now fail to understand

All that on earth I see,

I’ll trust His wisdom, love, and might

Who loved and died for me.

No longer is my wonder now

Why I must burdened be:

I wonder rather why my Lord

Should do so much for me.

I wonder at His dying love

For such a one as I;

I wonder at the awful price:-

That He for me should die.

I wonder at my sonship too:-

A child of God above.

I wonder at a thousand things,

The tokens of His love.

I wonder at the kingdom great

Prepared for me on high;

I wonder at eternity

My heaven by and by.

Image above retrieved from:
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Frank_Bramley_-_Kingdom_Of_Heaven_1891.jpg
Source: Art Knowledge Daily
Permission: photograph reproduction in the public domain