Seated in a window was a young man named Eutychus,
who was sinking into a deep sleep as Paul talked on and on.
When he was sound asleep, he fell to the ground from the third story
and was picked up dead.* [Acts 20:9]
Ye Olympian poets, hearken well
while the fall of a tragic youth I tell.
My Lydian lay, unsung by Homer
in pastoral ages far and former
shall warn and chasten your Patrician ears
recalling bygone Hellenistic years.
Pardon the insufficient gravitas –
the intention here is not blasphemous…
Saul, since Damascus and the desert days
had progressed to his apostolic phase;
a minor Asian town, Trojan Troas
lent him their ears. What we came to know as
was birthed in near-comic humanity.
But Saint Paul was completely serious
feverishly focused, quite delirious.
And so the first story he narrated-
second, then a third story related,
foreshadowing from Moses’ law the Christ
and Gentile nations grafted in, or spliced
as shoots from a wild rebel olive tree;
the Eternal One who is Trinity…
and many other holy mysteries
he taught and unlocked with scriptural keys.
By his third story, some eyelids fluttered
the lamps burned low while his truths were uttered.
The allure of Aegean night was deep –
but he offered something greater than sleep.
Among them one languished, barely alert,
a young (very tired) Grecian convert.
Eutychus nodded, his frame lightly propped,
in the night-freshened window. He had stopped
heeding Saint Paul who was preaching Jesus…
and thus he surrendered to Morpheus.
Unfortunate, weary, his tired head nods;
still exegeting from beyond, Paul plods.
Finally, the liminal threshold reached
E. falls – to encounter the power Paul preached.
His toga billowing as he plummets
from peaks of Christological summits,
he descends to gather cryptic renown
and a dubious New Testament crown.
Was E. bored to death by St. Paul’s discourse?
Descending from grace – did he stay the course?
Was his revival a first holy fruit –
or an arrival by alternate route?
One wonders, in retrospect- was he saved?
or is this a picture of mankind, depraved
fallen in slumber, oblivious, dead
until Truth’s unkindness touches our head…
Like Lazarus, this one had to die twice
We ask: how many more deaths would suffice?
Did he talk to the Lord while departed?
Could he fathom what Jesus had started?
Like Luke’s blind man, the sin was not his own,
but that God’s power be openly shown.
For his pains: a two-fold resurrection
rebirth through Paul and divine election.
(Unless the whole thing was allegory –
mere Jewish fable or pagan story…)
Don’t censure my Lydian levity
nor discount apostolic gravity
lamenting the youth bored to death by Paul;
we discern, in Eutychus, our own fall.
Revived, he learned, before the rest of us,
the difference between Christ and Morpheus.
If there be details still to verify
or vague scenarios to modify,
we shall, in heaven, request to hear it
from the lips of Eutychus’ own spirit.
(And then we can corroborate with Paul
The how and the who and the wherewithal.)
Read all about it in Acts, chapter 20