Monday, July 30, 2012
Monday Poetry: High Flight
This is a favorite poem of aviators and astronauts. Written by John Gillespie Magee Jr., a pilot himself, 4 months before his untimely death, High Flight was inspired by his climb into the atmosphere over 33,000 feet.
You will, no doubt, recognize some of the lines quoted by President Reagan after the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger.
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 wind-swept heights with easy grace.
Where never lark, or even eagle flew —
And, while with silent lifting mind I have trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
- Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.