Guest poem sent in by Rajeev
(Poem #276) 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 windswept heights with easy grace Where never lark, or even eagle flew - And, while with silent lifting mind I've trod The high unsurpassed sanctity of space, Put out my hand and touched the face of God.
(No 412 squadron, RCAF, Killed 11 December 1941) I was actually surfing the net looking for stuff on the Supermarine Spitfire (ooh, what a plane!!), when I came across this. I'd read snatches of this somewhere long back in a classic autobiography by another British fighter pilot, Richard Hillary, called "The Last Enemy". But I'd never found the complete poem. This was a welcome discovery. I don't want to go into Aeolian cadences an' lilting music an' meter an' all. I don't want to compare this to anything I've read before - I believe that it beggars comparison. It stands on its own like Chidiock Tichbourne. What does it make me feel like? Like I want to fly a SPITFIRE!!!!! Yeeee-hawwwww!! 'nuff zed on this matter [Biography] Pilot Officer John Gillespie Magee, Jr., was an American serving with the Royal Canadian Air Force. He was born in Shanghai, China in 1922, the son of missionary parents, Reverend and Mrs. John Gillespie Magee; his father was an American and his mother was originally a British citizen. He came to the U.S. in 1939 and earned a scholarship to Yale, but in September 1940 he enlisted in the RCAF and was graduated as a pilot. He was sent to England for combat duty in July 1941. In August or September 1941, Pilot Officer Magee composed High Flight and sent a copy to his parents. Several months later, on December 11, 1941 his Spitfire collided with another plane over England and Magee, only 19 years of age, crashed to his death. His remains are buried in the churchyard cemetery at Scopwick, Lincolnshire Rajeev