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.
High Flight, a poem by John Gillespie McGee, Jr. (1922 - 1941). An
American/British fighter pilot, he flew with the Royal Canadian Air
Force in World War II. He came to Britain, flew in a Spitfire
squadron, and was killed at age 19 on December 11, 1941, during a
training flight from the airfield near Scopwick, Lincolnshire. The
poem was written on the back of a letter to his parents which stated,
"I am enclosing a verse I wrote the other day. It started at 30,000
feet, and was finished soon after I landed."