“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

“The Song of Naples” by Darius M. Ratcliff


West Hill, Naples, Ontario County, New York

THE SONG OF NAPLES

I dream, I dream of Naples

When I am far away:

Its lovely lake is sparkling

With pastel tints so gay.

In dreams again I wander

Through quiet glens alone;

Where waterfalls are babbling

Down towering cliffs of stone.

I hear the hush of evening

In the dreamy month of June;

And light winds in the tree tops

Are singing love’s sweet tune.

I dream of nights in August: –

The clouds joyful sing,

And all night long the night air

With melodies does ring.

I see the roadside beauties,

In autumn’s hazes mellow;

And golden rods are waving

Their plumes of golden yellow.

West Hill goes up to meet it

With many a lovely hue.

I dream of hilltops airy

With valleys spread below;

I dream of vineyards many,

And quiet fields of snow.

I dream sweet dreams of Naples

When I am far away:

Its loveliness has blessed me

And for its good I pray.

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

 

 

 

 

“The Storm” by Darius M. Ratcliff

Poplar (1827)

THE STORM

The storm came rolling toward us,

The sky grew densely black;

And thunder crashed fearful

Scarce missed the lightning’s track.

Strong gusts of wind were swaying

The tall thick maple tops:

And rain clouds fast descending

Sent down some great rain drops.

And soon the wind increasing

Began to show its might:

So dark had grown the valley

It near resembled night.

The air was filled with debris,

Dead limbs were in its load:

A great tree top was lifted

And crashed across the road.

A half dead poplar giant

Was twisted right around,

And barely missed our house top

In crashing to the ground.

And now the wind in fury

Went lashing by the town,

And struck the pride of Naples,

The tree of wide renown.

The tree that linked us back

To pioneering date;

A mammouth balm of Gilead,

The largest in the state.

The tree that loomed up skyward

Six score feet and more;

Whose trunk in girth did measure

Ten feet beyond a score.

Its branches were like tree trunks,

And they great limbs did bear:

Its crown spread like a forest,

And towered high in air.

Its ponderous form had stood

Against all wind and blast;

As if ‘twere made of granite

And could the hills outlast.

But old had grown the giant,

And unbeknown to all

Its roots were rotting slowly;

The mammouth tree would fall.

And now the wind in  power

Was wrestling with the giant: –

But then a thousand others

Had found it adamant.

But lo! Its top is leaning!

It never leaned before:

The ground around the great trunk

Came buldging more and more.

And now above the storm roar

A rending sound is heard:

The crown dividing slowly,

Revealed what had occurred.

The sound  of rending roots

Was mingled with the roar,

As all its mammouth greatness

Swung out like swinging door.

A silent moment only,

And through the air  a flash:

And then great limbs were shattered,

And then a dead weight crash.

The jar was like an earthquake

For many rods around:

The roar of wind was lost

In that great thunderous sound.

And still the rain in torrents

Came pouring ever on;

The street was like a river,

A lake was all our lawn.

The sky grew brighter now,

And soon appeared the sun:

The giant low was laying,

By time and wind undone.

Reference: Newspaper – “The Naples Record”, Naples, New York, Wednesday, July 22, 1942, Page Six

“Kiandaga Chapter, D. A. R., has recently had a state marker erected at the Thomas Briggs farm, on the Woodville road, to mark the historic Balm of Gilead tree which was felled by the rains during the night of January 1-2, 1942. The marker was taken down a few weeks ago for correction, following the fall of the tree which once was claimed to be the second largest tree in the state.”

http://fultonhistory.com/Newspaper%2013/Naples%20NY%20Record/Naples%20NY%20Record%201941-1942/Naples%20NY%20Record%201941-1942%20-%200665.pdf
Photo above retrieved from:
http://digitalgallery.nypl.org/nypldigital/dgkeysearchdetail.cfm?trg=1&strucID=358000&imageID=1113429&word=poplar%20tree&s=1&notword=&d=&c=&f=&k=0&lWord=&lField=&sScope=&sLevel=&sLabel=&sort=&total=14&num=0&imgs=20&pNum=&pos=2#_seemore

Image Title:  Poplar.

Additional Name(s):
Hullmandel, Charles Joseph, 1789-1850 — Printer
Burgess, Henry W. — Author

Medium: Lithographs
Item/Page/Plate: Pl. 10

Source: Eidodendron : views of the general character and appearance of trees foreign and indigenous connected with picturesque scenery.

Source Description: pp. [7], iii, [4]; Fol. 26 & plates. 54 plates, front. ; 56 cm.

“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.

“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