Williamson High School Senior Ryan Caleb Stacy just keeps on winning young writer awards.
In addition to his state winning essay, "Paradise," which is published in today's edition of the Williamson Daily News, Stacy has recently been notified that his poem, "Perish," has been selected for publication in a hard-back book of poetry.
Stacy read his memorable essay, "Paradise," at a recent meeting of the Mingo County Board of Education after having received first place in the county awards for his literary effort.
Nancy Terlizzi, one of his teachers at Williamson HIgh School, said Stacy later received a standing ovation from the huge crowd that heard him read his moving essay during the May 7 West Virginia Young Writers celebration held at the University of Charleston in the state capital.
At the state event, he was presented the Barbara W. Walters Memorial Scholarship.
The talented young writer and athlete is the son of Regina Stacy and the late Ryan Stacy.
Stacy’s story, “Paradise”, is printed below.
By RYAN CALEB STACY
I peered deep within those lustrous orbs (their tawny-toned cores glistening and juddering with despondency) while I brushed the small droplets of sweat from his furrowed brow.
"I love you, Daddy", I murmured.
"I love you too, son", he replied, almost imperceptibly.
I knew everything about the man beneath those eyes: his dreams, his hopes and aspirations - anything; he was my father. I knew that he'd seen this formerly, this moment, in some distant nightmare. He knew what was to come, and that the walking morning would not salvage him from jeopardy in this moment, neither in any instant thereafter.
I sauntered across the room and retrieved the swarthy book from the window ledge. It was weathered and tom on the edges, and on the bottom-right comer, my name was stitched with gold. I walked the threadbare Bible over to his bedside and extended it towards him. He grasped it shakily and motioned for me to come closer.
I bent down next to him, my face in close proximity to his own, and listened diligently. He traced his index finger across the golden text, frailly, then pointed directly at my chest, mumbling softly, "You learn from it now".
It was the golden age of my youth, when each moment was wholly snarled with a great influence of halcyon; when all the lobelias, and marigolds, and scarlet begonias warbled in glee beneath the generous sunbeams. My father and I ambled along the soundless stretch of that brook (the one that extended from the very tip-top of the mountain all the way to the bottom, where it met with one endless rumble of motion against stillness) at which point he said to me, "Son, let's go watch the sunset at the very top of this mountain."
"Why?" said I.
"Why not?" he returned, "Adventure comes knocking but once every little while; to deny it is to say God: I have better plans for myself."
Weighing these words with good measure, I looked out at the swaying, flowery masses, their eager faces goading our departure, and sighed; the verdict had been resolved long ago. We poised at the very root of the mountain, where all the dimness and quietude of the greater coppice lingered. I sighed; the voyage was, indeed, crooning our names with inscrutable symphony.
He hacked turbulently, then - seizing his chest intensely, drawing a single breath frantically into his frame. I felt the harrowing thunder permeate my body - expanding into every reach of my senses and vanishing abruptly as if God had graciously ended the rumble. Sighing at the discharge, I examined his hands - those worn and weather-beaten recruits, (the very same which had clothed and nurtured me with their labor, that lifted
me to unfathomable prospects) and sighed. They were far more pallid than before.
"It's okay" he said, that grin piercing through the darkness.
"No, it's not" said I, lowering my head, permitting the dribs of brackish moisture to fall into my lap.
He lifted my chin and peered unswervingly into my eyes.
"It will be."
In transient time, we found ourselves at the uttermost peak of the mountain, where the small wedge of level earth extended roughly fifteen feet from edge-to-edge. The sun was absconding, then, far into the musings of our yesterdays and the hopes of some fantasist's tomorrow.
"Did you see that?" he exclaimed.
"Did I see what?"
"That movement, over in the thicket."
"No, 1 didn't see a thing."
Rising gradually, he beckoned my stillness with his index finger pressed firmly against his lips, then stepped meticulously between the patches of newly grown lilies to find the source of the clatter.
"Oh!" said he.
"What is it?"
"Come over and look."
I arose, inquisitively, and marched steadily through the flowers to where he was hunkered. Ensnared within the authority of the thicket, struggling for release, was an undersized robin. He was heaving, and twittering, and shuddering with the madness of desire. My father scrupulously unhooked his wing from the devious thicket and cupped the bantam robin within his hands. "The world is still golden", said he to the robin.
Then, with one fell swoop, he released the robin high into the evening. We watched as it coiled and bathed in the fruits of its own sovereignty, and then diminished into the profundity of dusk.
"I don't understand" said 1 to him
"You don't understand what?"
"Why you have to die."
He chortled and shook as he struggled to sit up, then looked at me, smiling from ear to ear. "Why not? Death comes knocking but once every little while. To deny it is to say to God: I have better plans for myself; believe me, son I do not."
He unwound and descended into the small coziness of his bed, and closed his eyes. I brushed the small droplets of sweat from his furrowed brow.
"I love you, daddy."
"I love you, son - without end."
His breathing relaxed and I ambled toward the door slowly, the tears running copiously down my face. I turned to look, one final time, at my father. He was smiling.
In my mind, he was strolling along a soundless brook with his Father, basking in the forever-golden age of youth.
I could see all the lobelias, and marigolds, and scarlet begonias warbling in glee beneath the eternal sun.
I could see him basking in sovereignty, like a robin set free from a vile thicket - plunging down into the untamed valleys of some distant paradise.