“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

 

 

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