High Flight

By 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 wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, or ever eagle flew -
And, while with silent, lifting mind I've trod
The high un-trespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.

John Gillespie Magee Jr. was a World War II Anglo-American Royal Canadian Air Force fighter pilot and poet, who wrote the poem "High Flight". He was killed in an accidental mid-air collision over England in 1941.

  1. Born: June 9, 1922, Republic of China
  2. Died: December 11, 1941, Ruskington, United Kingdom
  3. Parents: Faith Emmeline Backhouse
  4. Books: The Complete Works of John Magee, the Pilot Poet