Sunday, August 7, 2011

High Flight, a poem by John Gillespie Magee.

Post 634 - John Gillespie Magee, Jr. (1922 – 1941) was an American aviator and poet who died at the age of 19 as a result of a mid-air collision over Lincolnshire during World War II. He was serving in the Royal Canadian Air Force, which he joined before the United States officially entered the war. I came across this poem last night while watching a lovely Canadian film, The Snow Walker, where it was recited in its entirety by James Cromwell.
It put me in mind of those 30 brave young Americans who lost their lives fighting on our behalf when their helicopter was shot down last week in Afghanistan. May they rest in peace.

High Flight by Pilot Officer John Gillespie Magee Jr.

Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds - and done a hundred things

You have not dreamed of - wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov'ring there
I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air.

Up, up the long delirious, burning blue,
I've topped the windswept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, or even eagle flew -
And, while with silent lifting mind I've trod
The high unsurpassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand and touched the face of God.


Anonymous said...

I remember this poem in my literature class in school. I loved it then as I do now.

Gage said...

Beautiful. Learned this in the Military.