High Flight

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned before that I am a pilot and here is one of my favorite poems about flying. It was written by an American, John Gillespie Magee, who fought in died in the famous Battle of Britain during World War II.

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, untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand and touched the face of God.

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pilot, world war 2, poetry

3 Replies to “High Flight”

  1. Hi Don,

    Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth…

    So.. this is the poem the Peggy Noonan lifted from in that speech Reagan gave after the Challenger disaster? I had never read the whole thing. Very nice poem.

  2. I owe Peggy Noonan and Reagan for highlighting the poem initially. No, the Gipper didn’t think of these words. He owe’s his famous tribute to the Challenger crew to Airman Magee.

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