Thursday, November 26, 2009

high flight

U.S. Air Force photo

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

High Flight
by Gillespie Magee
Pilot Officer, Royal Canadian Air Force


  1. There is a wonderful 10 part documentary out called Carrier and it follows the life aboard the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz. The episode I watched last night was about the ultimate freedom experienced by the aircraft pilots. It's very well done and worth watching.

  2. Before my grandfather passed away he gave me a tiny Bible that he kept in his breast pocket while flying planes in WWII, and this poem was clipped and inserted into the pages. Thank you for reminding me of it.
    The doc that Catherine mentions is AWESOME, I followed it for a few weeks a while ago, and I think the whole thing is available on Netflix. The one episode that sticks in my mind is watching the pilots land during storm surges. Everyone makes it, but the tension and bullets of sweat pouring off everyone is something that Hollywood could never recreate. Powerful stuff. Hope you had a great Thanksgiving!

  3. This poem has been framed in my grandparents' home for as long as I can remember.

  4. It is you (on photo)?