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High Flight

by John Gillespie MAGEE*


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, nor even 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.


*In memory of the author of this poem, Pilot Officer John Gillespie Magee Jr. (an American serving in No.412 Squadron, Royal Canadian Air Force), who died on 11 December 1941 in a mid-air collision over Lincolnshire, UK.

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