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 swing
High in the sunlit silence. Hovering 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 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.
Written by World War II fighter pilot John Gillespie Magee (1922 – 1944)
John Gillespie Magee was an American serving with the Royal Canadian Air Force. High Flight was found amongst John Magee’s papers after he was killed serving with No 412 Squadron.