Christopher Billings

christopher billing-400

August 17, 1949-July 2, 1998

Christopher joined the Fellowship of Friends on February 9, 1974 in Seattle, Washington

Epitaph:

We in our own faltering way breed life

 

Christopher Billings - 800

When one man dies, one chapter is not torn out of the book, but translated into a better language.
John Donne

 

 

 

  1. Rowena Taylor July 1, 2019 at 7:38 am

    Sonnet for Christopher Billings

    written July 5, 1998

    Straight, fine and fair, a lover of the good,
    You leave us lightly, for you were prepared
    In every moment. Those of us who wait
    Know now how readily you did depart.

    What had you ever told us of this journey?
    But you said nothing. Shall we curve, we bend,
    Surrender as you learned to, growing strong;
    Achieve the hard-won readiness you won?

    We saw the fruit of what your work had borne:
    Acceptance, equanimity, and peace.
    You shared these out; we shall remember them,
    And what you take with you, you gave to us.

  2. Maria Billings-Lowry June 29, 2018 at 2:28 pm

    This is a poem that Christopher wrote in February 1997

    And If

    And if any or all of it does come to pass,
    It will mean exactly the same for you and me.
    Because the Gods have always held us like this,
    In a wild, careening balance between two poles:
    At one end, exposed like wide-eyed infants
    To the buffetings of a brutal world,
    While on the other we are mysteriously preserved,
    Snatched in secret from the jaws of ruin
    And promptly pressed ahead to meet
    The next precisely orchestrated challenge.

  3. Maria Billings-Lowry June 29, 2018 at 2:17 pm

    This is a poem that Christopher wrote in June 1983 for our wedding in July:

    Standing alone, watching, studying you at great distance,
    Curious of how it is that we can spread vast wings of sense across space,
    Touching so much, probing, measuring so much,
    And all without that distance ever closing.

    More curious, still, how, in a time-shattering flash,
    All divisions are expunged,
    And I feel the soft wing-tip as it brushes by my face,
    So that I know you have, for an instant, been nearby;
    That you were there infant soul, all along,
    And that I close the gap each time I near myself.

  4. Maria Billings-Lowry June 29, 2018 at 1:33 pm

    This is the entire poem that Christopher wrote when he first visited Apollo in July 1976:

    And when we are again here
    Inexplicably upon the windy road,
    And starry dusk again, now,
    Unalterably fixed, vast,
    Infinitely yields to breezes,
    While we, losing grasp,
    Perceive again, changing,
    The sinuous envelope rippling,
    We encased, gliding, without recourse
    To thought or poor excuse;
    And it is now, we reach again, straining
    As the beast steps again, again
    Before our floundering silence impervious,
    His patterns locked for all time,
    His every issue ordained, foretold.

    And yet our reach this time is true,
    Finding its hold, precious hold
    Upon the night’s soft wind:
    That which, curiously, like a child,
    Makes visit in cooling eddies
    About his striding frame,
    Soothing his ancient cravings,
    Transporting us, released, upon its gentleness
    To sweep in light across the swelling earth.
    And we knowing, in this moment full well,
    That the beast walks, as he must,
    Towards his vacuous death, while we,
    In our own faltering way breed life
    Eternal.

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