“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

“Moonlight Devotion” by Darius M. Ratcliff

Moonlight on the Lake
Chautauqua Institution, Chautauqua, New York

MOONLIGHT – DEVOTIONAL

 When on days of balmy June

The sun at last withdraws its light

Then you bring a mystic glow

To lovers strolling in the night.

The moon enriches us on earth, by soft and welcome light. But of itself the moon has no light. It only reflects the light of the sun. From this we can learn a lesson. Christ is introduced in these passages from Gospel of John. “….In him was life and the life was the light of men.” If man had ever had light on his own, by sin he had lost it. “….I am the light of the world, he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” “When I am in the world I am the light of the world.” “….Yet a little while is the light among you. Work while you have the light, that darkness overtake you not; and he that walketh in darkness knoweth not where he is going. While you have the light believe in the light, that you may become children of the light.”

But while Jesus was with us in visible form, the time was short, very short; and the territory he could cover was small, very small. But he had his followers “As the Father sent me into the world, I am sending you.”

The church is well called the body of Christ. Christians by abiding in Christ and he abiding in them can reflect his lights to all the world till the end of time. So Jesus told his disciple “You are the light of the world.” “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”

We then have the supreme opportunity of earth, and the responsibility is equally grave. In our day and in our time there are those whom we can so bring the light of Christ, they will eternally share with us the love and joy, and glory as the children of God. If we fail that will be forever lost to them. Let your light shine now and where you are.

Image above retrieved from:
http://digitalgallery.nypl.org/nypldigital/id?79477
Source: Detroit Publishing Company postcards / Unnumbered cards
Digital ID: 79477

 

“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