21 July 2011

LAST FLIGHT



High Flight
.
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 ever 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.
.
 — John Gillespie Magee, Jr
Pilot Officer Gillespie Magee
No 412 squadron, RCAF
Killed 11 December 1941
.
On 3 September 1941, Magee flew a high altitude (30,000 feet) test flight in a newer model of the Spitfire V. 
As he orbited and climbed upward, 
he was struck with the inspiration of a poem — 
"To touch the face of God."
.
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