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High Flight (poem for the Columbia astronauts)
| December 1941
| John G. Magee
Posted on 02/01/2003 7:50:54 AM PST by deaconblues
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. 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 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.
In December 1941, Pilot Officer John G. Magee, a 19-year-old American serving with the Royal Canadian Air Force in England, was killed when his Spitfire collided with another airplane inside a cloud. Several months before his death, he composed his immortal sonnet High Flight a copy of which he fortunately mailed to his parents in the U.S.A.
KEYWORDS: india; israel; nasa; shuttletragedy; unitedstates
This is the poem that Reagan read at the memorial service for the Challenger astronauts, I thought it was fitting today. My sincere apologies if it has already been posted.
My favorite poem. And a fitting tribute to those who dare the shouting winds.
posted on 02/01/2003 7:55:38 AM PST
Thank you for posting.
Beautiful and fitting tribute.
posted on 02/01/2003 8:05:03 AM PST
(... but young at heart!)
I wonder if anybody around here has an audio of President Reagan reading that poem?
posted on 02/01/2003 8:10:19 AM PST
Beautiful and fitting tribute
posted on 02/01/2003 8:11:32 AM PST
"Beautiful and fitting tribute."
I just couldn't say it any better.
posted on 02/01/2003 8:12:44 AM PST
"I wonder if anybody around here has an audio of President Reagan reading that poem?"
Actaully I believe he only read a couple of lines from the poem, at the service.
We had this poem on the wall when I was growing up.
There was also a picture of the wreckage of an airplane, with the caption, "Aviation in itself is not inherently dangerous; but, to an even greater degree than the sea, it is terribly unforgiving of any carelessness, incapacity, or neglect."
posted on 02/01/2003 8:15:38 AM PST
(Christ has overcome the world!)
posted on 02/01/2003 8:18:08 AM PST
Thanks for posting this. It is very appropriate.
posted on 02/01/2003 8:24:07 AM PST
I was just going to post this. It was the very first thing I thought of when I heard the news.
posted on 02/01/2003 8:25:39 AM PST
One of my favorite poems as well!
God be with the families and friends of the astronauts and God welcome the astronauts into his arms!
posted on 02/01/2003 8:26:42 AM PST
They are among the Quite Birdmen now, mounted into the realms beyond the reach of Keewee and Modock....
posted on 02/01/2003 8:28:36 AM PST
My favorite poem. And a fitting tribute to those who dare the shouting winds
My father introduced me to this poem when he came home from WWII. He had just taken me up in a Stearman for my first plane ride as a little boy so I understood it's meaning. It was the only recitation at his funeral and hangs on a plaque in my office today. And, yes, it is a fitting tribute for those who have topped the windswept heights to touch the face of God. The tears are running down my face.
posted on 02/01/2003 8:40:18 AM PST
Teary eyed bump.
posted on 02/01/2003 8:46:42 AM PST
No need for apologies. I appreciate your posting this. It was requested on another post, and I have spent the last 10 minutes looking for it. Thank you.
posted on 02/01/2003 9:12:34 AM PST
This beautiful poem was my Dad's favorite as well. He was a pilot in WWII, and it was read at his funeral. Perfect.
posted on 02/01/2003 9:45:30 AM PST
Before television became a platform for the bizarre and the immoral, and when it was okay to mention the name of God, this often closed out the day for the local TV stations. It is, no doubt, one of the most beautiful ever written and, fittingly, by someone who gave his all. God bless the Columbia crew, God bless and give strength to their families, God bless America, and God bless our President.
posted on 02/01/2003 9:55:55 AM PST
posted on 02/01/2003 9:56:32 AM PST
posted on 02/01/2003 10:31:57 AM PST
(Liberals SuK; Liberalism SuX)
TO HIGH FLIGHT - In the Spirit of the Columbia Space Shuttle Astronauts, may their spirit and courage live on!
posted on 02/01/2003 11:20:55 AM PST
Thanks, deacon, for posting this. I had posted the poem and some other stuff in post 881 of the original "Shuttle Contact Lost" alert thread posted by GRRRRR, but it deserves a thread of its own. Since you already posted the poem, here's the "other stuff":
I plan for the first two lines [of High Flight]to be my epitaph. High Flight is the offical poem of the United States Air Force. Here's a biography and photo of the poet.
High Flight was composed by Pilot Officer John Gillespie Magee, Jr., 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.
posted on 02/02/2003 4:37:35 PM PST
by Mr. Silverback
(The surly bonds of Earth have been slipped.)
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