“Morning on the Farm” by Darius M. Ratcliff

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

MORNING ON THE FARM

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

“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

“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.

“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

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

LAST  NIGHT I SAT DREAMING

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

SITTING AT THE TABLE

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

“To My Valentine” – Ethel Fulton Ratcliff by Darius M. Ratcliff, February 14, 1943

Ethel Lepine Fulton Ratcliff


TO MY VALENTINE

February 14, 1943


Long, long ago, my dear,

I fell in love with you.

How sweet and happy were those days,

When love to us was new:

Do you remember Somerville,

And Greenknoll’s country side?

Do you remember Hurleyville,

Where summer joys abide:

If I were to fall in love anew,

I’d want to fall in love with you.

Our wedding day was minus guests,

And it was bleak and cold:

It mattered not to me at all,

For you were mine to hold:

I heard you say a glad “I do.”

And we at last were wed:

The joy has never left my heart,

Though many years have fled.

If I were to marry anew,

I’d want to marry only you.

You, dear, were once my own sweet bride,

They said, “The teacher’s wife”.

We had but little in our home,

But sweet to me was life.

We learned to love those country folks,

And they to us were kind:

I doubt if those in palaces

A greater bliss can find.

If I were to have a bride anew,

I’d want that bride to be just you.

For thirty years you’ve been my wife,

A loyal wife and true:

If I have won success or praise,

I owe it much to you.

And you are just as lovely now,

As when you were my bride.

I’ve learned to love you more and more,

With love that does abide.

If I were to choose a wife anew,

I’d want to choose just you, just you.

And we have reared a lovely girl, —

Many blessings with her go:And we have reared two precious boys,–

Ratcliff Family – July 16, 1926

Left to right 

Robert “Bob” , Walter

Ethel Fulton Ratcliff, Elizabeth “Betty”, Darius Mitteer Ratcliff

May they the Savior know.

For them we’ve toiled and sacrificed,

For them we’ve lived and prayed;

With them we’ve loved, joyed, and wept

With them we’ve hiked and played.

If I were to rear a child a new,

I’d want to rear that child with you.

The years will come, the years will go:

They’ll take away our strength:

We’ll find ourselves, if life is spared,

Grown old and weak at length.

So long the Christ has blessed us,

He’ll not forsake us then:

His grace for us will suffice

While we abide with men.

If I’m to grow old and feeble too,

I want to grow old  along with you.

Our hopes are placed with Christ on high,

We wait a coming Lord:

We glory only in the Christ,

We glory in His word:

We trust to love forever more,

And with Christ’s glory shine:

We trust the fullness of our Lord

Will be both yours and mine.

When I then live that life anew,

I want to live that life with you.

 Ratcliff Family – Naples, New York, 1935

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