John Gillespie Magee, Jr. was an American airman during WWII who joined the Royal Canadian Air Force. McGee was killed at the age of nineteen, flying a Spitire during the Battle of Britain. He was born in China and lived in Washington, D. C. where his father served as Rector of St. John’s Church across from the White House.
“High Flight” was said at one time to be among the best-known poems among aviators and could allegedly be found, elegantly framed or carelessly tacked, on home and office walls around most military airfields. It can be found in its entirety on page 243 of Michael Collins book , An Astronaut’s Journey.
Following is an excerpt from “Carrying The Fire by Michael Collins, An Astronaut’s Journey, p. 198, entitled ‘HIGH FLIGHT” by John Gillespie Magee, Jr
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 untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.
From Warner's World ... the prayer of my heart is that amid the darkness of our global community we never lose our sensitivity to flying high enough to put out our hands, and reach beyond space and time, and touch the face of God ... I am walkingwithwarner.blogspot.com