High Flight

High Flight


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

-- John Gillespie Magee

This is my favorite of all poems.

Mr. Magee was an American citizen who left the United States to Canada to fight against the Nazis in WWII before the United States entered the war. He wrote this poem after conducting a test flight of a Spitifire. Soon afterward, MaGee lost his life in a midair collision.

More information about the poem and about Magee can be found here: